LDA rejected revised bid for £1.5bn Docklands housing scheme despite heavyweight backing

Housebuilder Barratt and developer British Land had been in talks to take on the 4,900-home Silvertown Quays development before the London Development Agency (LDA) terminated its development agreement yesterday, it has emerged.

The news came as the developer behind the £1.5bn scheme, Silvertown Quays Ltd, hit back at the LDA's decision to end the contract, signed in 2002.

David Taylor, chairman of Silvertown Quays, said he was “absolutely astonished” the LDA had decided to turn down a revised bid to take on the development, supported by Barratt, British Land and the Bank of Scotland.

He said: “It seems almost unbelievable in these difficult economic circumstances that the LDA should reject these positive proposals out of hand. Rebuffing Britain's largest housebuilder in joint venture with one of the country's most respected commercial developers almost beggars belief.”

Taylor called for the LDA to “publicly explain” its position.

Silvertown Quays Ltd received planning permission in 2007 for the scheme, which includes a Terry Farrell & Partners-designed aquarium, but was forced to put it on hold in 2008.

The comments follow a statement from the LDA yesterday of the termination of its contract.

It said: “The London Development Agency had, with reluctance, served termination notices on Silvertown Quays Ltd last year. The LDA then had discussions with Silvertown Quays Ltd's main backer, the Bank of Scotland. The Bank of Scotland proposed a new development partner and requested some revisions to the planned approach to the regeneration of the site, including a revised timetable for delivery and other changes to the existing commercial arrangements.

“Having considered the information provided, the London Development Agency concluded that it could not accept the proposals.”

According to the Financial Times, Silvertown Quays Ltd has three months to respond to the LDA's decision.