Beckwith sports plan is rejected

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The Independent Online
THE Beckwith brothers, John and Peter, who amassed an pounds 80m fortune during the property boom, have run into planning problems over a multi- million-pound leisure development at Northwood, Middlesex.

The project, to buildan upmarket tennis and sports complex at the 78-acre Park Farm, is being undertaken by Riverside Leisure Holdings, the brothers' new property vehicle, which is being groomed for a stock market flotation.

Riverside, which owns four sports clubs including the two City-based Espree gymnasiums, has been forced to resubmit its planning application after the initial proposals were rejected by the local authority. The problems could delay Riverside's market launch.

Separately, Tony Haslam, Riverside's operations director, has left the company after a disagreement with principal shareholders, who include Mike Luckwell and John Beadle, former backers of the media group Carlton Communications.

Mr Haslam, who is believed to be on holiday, was a key member of the Riverside's management team. 'The company is going through a period of enlargement, which meant a slightly different role. He was not comfortable with that and wants to have something over which he has close personal control,' Mr Luckwell said.

Earlier this year it was widely reported that Riverside was planning a stock market flotation. But Mr Luckwell said that the move was unlikely, although a review of the plans would be made soon.

There is talk that the company is considering a quotation on the Dublin stock exchange or a possible reverse takeover of a listed company.

The Beckwith brothers collected their pounds 80m jackpot in 1990 after selling London & Edinburgh Trust to the Swedish insurance giant SPP for pounds 500m.