English Partnerships has rescued the development of a £50m higher education college on the £5bn Greenwich Peninsula scheme after housebuilder Taylor Wimpey backed out of a land deal, writes Dan Stewart.

It has emerged that the Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, on which construction finally started last month, was almost forced to pull out of its move from Chislehurst in south-east London to the Greenwich development.

The media college was left short of funds in October after Taylor Wimpey, which had agreed to buy the Chislehurst site, made an eleventh hour decision to devalue the land by £10m.

English Partnerships (EP), which was this week replaced by the Homes and Communities Agency, and the communities department last month made

the decision to assist with financing the scheme, so that Ravensbourne College could fully fund the construction of the new building, which was delayed by several weeks as a result.

Stephen Oakes, a London regional director at EP, said the public sector had put up £10m as a “bridging loan” to Ravensbourne College.

The college is extraordinarily important to the peninsula, so we oiled the wheels

Stephen Oakes, EP

He said: “Nobody is immune to the credit crunch. The college is an extraordinarily important scheme for the peninsula, so we made the decision to oil the wheels of the transaction.”

Construction on the £50m scheme, designed by Foreign Office Architects, began last month after the £10m of funding was confirmed. Bovis Lend Lease is the main contractor.

Ravensbourne College is considered an anchor project for the 3.5 million ft2 business district of the Greenwich Peninsula.