A 14,500m2 aquarium in London Docklands designed by Terry Farrell and Partners has been put under review because of the credit crunch.

The Biota! building in Newham was intended to be the first part of the £1.5bn regeneration of Silvertown Quays. Its delivery is central to the development’s section 106 agreement, which took five years to negotiate.

The agreement calls for the aquarium to be built first, with the rest of the scheme rolled out over a 12-year period. However, it is understood that joint developer Silvertown Quays and US-based regeneration company KUD International, and landowner London Development Agency, are having difficulties financing it.

It is believed that design work will continue until September, after which the project will be frozen until sufficient funds have been raised.

The bulk of the Silvertown Quays scheme, which will cover 24ha and include 5,000 new homes, cannot progress until work on the aquarium is under way.

Sir Robert McAlpine was appointed main contractor for Biota! in January.

The scheme is to be operated by the Zoological Society of London, which is hoping to raise £15m for the aquarium.