End in sight for White City talks

NEGOTIATIONS over building a huge pounds 500m shopping centre at White City in west London, the capital's biggest property development since Canary Wharf, are understood to be nearing completion after a two-year stand-off between rival consortia, writes Paul Farrelly.

Sources close to the talks say an end is now in sight after "sensitive negotiations" that will almost certainly see some of the nine separate parties drop out.

The plans centre around building 600,000 sq ft of retail, leisure and housing space on a derelict 35-acre site at White City in what would become west London's equivalent of Brent Cross, the hugely successful shopping centre in north London.

A group involving Sainsbury, Railtrack, construction group BICC and private developer Bridehall controls part of the site but does not yet have planning permission.

It has been at loggerheads with rivals, led by Elliott Bernerd's Chelsfield and ex-Rosehaugh developer Godfrey Bradman, who do have outline consent and who, through London Transport, own another part of the land.

Institutional funding for each would be provided by General Accident and Scottish Amicable respectively, who would put up roughly half the cost.

None of the parties would comment on the record but sources close to the talks said a compromise could now be just a few weeks away.

"We're not interested in a consortium of eight or nine of us," one key player said. "It's like three-dimensional chess, but we're making good progress. We are close and our intention is to get it done," he added.

Further news is likely to emerge this week, when Chelsfield announces 1995 profits on Tuesday. These are expected to come in at around pounds 10m, roughly the same as 1994.

Mr Bernerd's group levered itself into a pivotal role last September, when it bought the Vanderbilt tennis club on the site.

The club, which boasts celebrity members such as Harold Pinter, Dustin Hoffman and architect Sir Richard Rogers, is likely to be demolished and relocated to pave the way for the development. But no work can go ahead without its permission.

The project also brings together former Tory ministers David Mellor, who advises Chelsfield, and Lord Young, who has a personal stake in the venture. Conservative party treasurer Lord Hambro is also a member of the Vanderbilt club.

Much of the tension is understood to have come from a poor relationship between Mr Bradman and BICC, which owns part of the land, though Chelsfield's involvement is thought to have sidelined the former Rosehaugh boss.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Guru Careers: FX Trader / Risk Manager

Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...

Guru Careers: Investment Writer / Stock Picker

Competitive (Freelance) : Guru Careers: An Investment Writer / Stock Picker is...

Day In a Page

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue
E L James's book Grey is a reminder of how the phenomenon of the best-seller works

Grey is a reminder of how the phenomenon of the best-seller works

It's hard to understand why so many are buying it – but then best-selling was ever an inexact science, says DJ Taylor
Behind the scenes of the world's most experimental science labs

World's most experimental science labs

The photographer Daniel Stier has spent four years gaining access to some of the world's most curious scientific experiments
It's the stroke of champions - so why is the single-handed backhand on the way out?

Single-handed backhand: on the way out?

If today's young guns wish to elevate themselves to the heights of Sampras, Graf and Federer, it's time to fire up the most thrilling shot in tennis
HMS Saracen: Meeting the last survivor of a submarine found 72 years after it was scuttled

HMS Saracen

Meeting the last survivor of a submarine found 72 years after it was scuttled
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Martine Wright lost both legs in the attack – she explains how her experience since shows 'anything is possible'

7/7 bombings 10 years on

Martine Wright lost both legs in the attack – she explains how her experience since shows 'anything is possible'