Hammerson has decided to defer the start of its £1.4bn extension of the Brent Cross shopping centre.

Laing O’Rourke will deliver the main construction package for joint owners Hammerson and Standard Life Investments.

Enabling works were due to get underway this month.

The Enquirer understands a joint venture between Graham/Hochtief has secured the first major infrastructure works deal.

But the woes sweeping the retail sector have caused a rethink at Hammerson which unveiled a new strategy and cost cutting drive in half year report today.

Hammerson said: “Given the current turbulence in the UK retail markets and whilst alternative uses of capital offer higher short-term financial returns, we have decided to defer the start on site at Brent Cross.

“Whilst we have decided to defer the start on site of the scheme, it remains an important strategic project and we continue to recognise its role as one of London’s leading retail destinations.

“It also forms part of the wider Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration plans encompassing improved road and rail infrastructure and significant residential development and we remain engaged with retailers and stakeholders towards the future delivery of the scheme.”

[Ref: constructionenquirer.com]