COTSWOLDGATE, the south west builder which has several sites in Swindon, has gone bust to the tune of £15m.

The administrators have been called in, although its name has not been filed at Companies House.

According to builders in the town, a number of local firms - painters and decorators, carpenters and a brick company - are owed upwards of £100,000.

No one from the company was available for comment, but an agent who helped sell some of the company's homes said the firm's demise was a sign of the current credit crunch.

He said: "The fact is, they built good homes at a good price but it is the banks which have pulled the rug from under them.

"You can see the quality of their homes at Groundwell Road, Marlborough Road and Argyle Street.

"I'm hoping the administrators can help them.

"Their going to the wall is a sign of the times with the so-called credit crunch which has not been helped by people who have talked us into a worse situation."

Another building firm, Meadgate, believed to have been a sister company in Wales, went bust earlier this year.

Meadgate Western, a £21m-a-year turnover house builder from Wales and the west of England, went into administration along with eight other associated companies, including Meadgate Homes.

Unsecured creditors are believed to be owed £4m and the Meadgate companies had total debts running to £36m.

It is known to have lost a total of £2.5m during the two financial years to April 2007.

Figures filed at Companies House show a loss of £810,000 in the year to April 30, 2007 following a further shortfall of £1.7m in the previous year.

Cotswoldgate going to the wall could be just the start of a massive decline in the building industry.

On Thursday a number of building companies saw their share prices drop considerably and they have publicly admitted they will be building fewer homes in the next few years.

Debbie Walsh, the head of public policy and communications at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors West, said: "Even before the current market problems, house building rates were well below the Government's aspirational target of 240,000 new homes each year.

"This warning from the stock market shows there is an immediate problem and house building levels will fall further from where the Government is aiming to be.

"In the current climate these targets are looking more and more unrealistic.

"The Bank of England's latest swap arrangement with the banking sector should help provide a little more liquidity for lenders but is not going to turn around the current challenging environment overnight."