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Leeds job worth £700m put on hold in testing conditions

The £700 million Eastgate Quarters scheme in Leeds was the biggest project to go on hold in January, according to business intelligence unit Glenigan.

The Hammerson/Town Centre Securities retail and housing scheme has been hit by the poor economic environment, particularly a testing occupier market and land assembly issues.

On completion, the scheme will include 600 houses, 100 shops, leisure facilities, restaurants and other community facilities.

But main works on site will not commence until there is an improvement in economic conditions, although the partnership said it would continue to progress with planning and design work.

Hammerson project director Andrew Hilston said: “We remain committed to the delivery of Eastgate Quarters.

“However, like many other cities in the UK, Leeds is subject to the challenging conditions that continue to affect all business sectors across the country.”

According to the Glenigan figures, a total of £5.5 billion of work was on hold in January. Significant sums of that shelved work were in the public sector, despite Government pledges to fast track spending.

Other major projects to go on hold in January included the £250 million Festival Gardens project in Liverpool, and the £144 million Park Place office development on the Isle of Dogs in London, which includes a 197-metre skyscraper.

The Liverpool project, which will see more than 1,300 homes built, was hit by contractor David McLean going into administration last October.

David McLean’s joint venture partner Langtree is confident the project will eventually go ahead, but said it had been placed on hold with matters still to be resolved.

The education sector alone accounted for £406 million of work on hold.

Glenigan economist Sean Alexander said: “The rise in education construction projects being put on hold is hardly a surprise given the deteriorating economic conditions.

“Despite promised increases in public sector spending there are still many parts of the sector - further education, for instance - who are at least partially dependent on private sector funding and who are therefore exposed to the financial crisis.”
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