Wiggins to sue Brent Council

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The Independent Online
Wiggins, the property investment company, yesterday said it was suing Brent Council, claiming officials at the London borough had frustrated its attempt to build a pounds 6.8m leisure complex at the site of an old swimming pool at Kingsbury, near Wembley.

Oliver Iny, chief executive of Wiggins, said: "Brent granted us a lease for the site but didn't carry out their promises. We are putting in a huge claim for damages. We are claiming significantly more money than the pounds 3m we have spent to far on the site. Brent will hurt."

Wiggins also announced plans to create 6,000 jobs in Kent by developing a 400-acre site it has just acquired at Manston airport near Margate, the place where the bouncing bomb was developed by Barnes Wallace during the Second World War.

It plans to build up to 6 million square feet of factories and industrial premises around the airport. Cummins, the US diesel engine manufacturer, has already agreed to set up a factory on the land. The development will include two huge lakes and the group even plans to import 1,000 chestnut trees from Brussels to plant on the site.

Mr Iny also plans to expand the airport. "We are looking to increase its passenger and cargo operations. We are in talks with a major tour operator to use the airport and hope to start international flights as soon as next year," he said.

Wiggins will soon unveil its ideas to revamp the struggling Pleasure Island Complex in Liverpool it acquired when it bought rival Tomorrows Leisure last March. Mr Iny aims to "transform Liverpool" by building a spectacular leisure complex.

Mr Iny has revived Wiggins' fortunes since joining the company four years ago.

The group has already built a 500-home village on the site of a former mental hospital in Lincoln, which includes pubs and amenities. Now it is developing another former mental home in Fairfield.

Wiggins still hopes to build the complex at Kingsbury, which would include a multi-screen cinema and swimming pool, but has been forced to provide pounds 3m in its accounts for costs incurred on the site, pending the outcome of the dispute with Brent Council. Even so it announced a 384 per cent leap in profits to pounds 19.9m for the year to March.

Brent Council was unavailable for comment last night.