A troubled inner-city regeneration programme has been given a last chance by the Department of the Environment. Thousands of jobs are at stake.

The Brixton City Challenge, worth pounds 187m of public and private money, had its public funding frozen in March.

In a letter to Lambeth council leaders last week, Sir George Young, Minister for Housing and Inner Cities, gave the scheme a six-month reprieve but emphasised funding depends on a review in October.

Problems with planning procedures led to only pounds 5.6m of the pounds 7.5m budget for 1993-94 being spent. New 'fast-track approval mechanisms are now in place.

In all, 31 city challenges got under way last year, but only Brixton has had extended funding problems. London's other schemes are in Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Brent, Hackney, Kensington and Chelsea, and Newham.

Brixton projects include a pounds 44m shopping development over the Tube station, housing association expansion, a five-screen art house cinema, community facilities and refurbishment of Brixton Academy music venue and The Fridge.