|Council Fears Ram Brewery Call-in|
puts £1bn investment at risk
Councillors say communities and local government secretary Hazel Blears has put £1bn of town centre regeneration at risk after she intervened in plans for 1,000 new homes and 400 new jobs on the Ram Brewery site.
The scheme, which includes £41m funding for improvements to the Wandsworth one-way system, was approved by the council's planning applications committee in December.
The full development comprises four town centre sites and includes the Capital Studios complex on Armoury Way and the former Young's offices in Buckhold Road. All these are now on hold.
The proposals had been backed by the Wandsworth Town Centre Partnership and the Mayor of London.
Council leader Edward Lister said, “It’s unbelievable that in the depths of a recession we have a minister that would put at risk £1bn of investment in the town centre. The Ram Brewery development would have been the catalyst for the wider regeneration of Wandsworth town centre.
"It would also have provided the money needed to resolve the town centre's traffic problems. Now everything goes on hold while the minister and her officials get round to looking at the scheme. This delay could put the scheme back several months at least.At a time when the business community needs all the help it can get this is a sign of minister completely out of touch with the real world. "
The Wandsworth Town Centre Partnership said the brewery site was 'pivotal' to their vision for the area.
The Ram Brewery development is one of six major town centre projects which between them are set to bring more than £1bn of investment to the area.
If the Secretary of State decides to order a public inquiry this would be unlikely to take place before the end of the year.
February 20, 2009