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Japanese firm could destroy new Jubilee Gardens park

Japanese developer the Shirayama Corporation is expected to kill off long-awaited plans to produce a 'world-class park for London' on the South Bank's Jubilee Gardens.

The corporation - which owns the adjacent County Hall - has refused to give up a legal covenant over the site and is declining to back the park's £5 million landscaping.

Plans for the site, including a timetable and cost analysis developed by CABE, were unveiled last week to widespread acclaim from all the local interests present - apart from Shirayama.

But the stakeholders' group, including the South Bank Centre, needs the Japanese firm to abandon its legal right to develop less than 50 per cent of the site if the relandscaping is to go ahead.

And an influential source close to Shirayama told the AJ that it would refuse to back the proposals and will 'never give up the covenant', awarded when it bought County Hall.

'The plans for the new park are so completely unrealistic that Shirayama is completely disinterested in them, ' the source said. 'The company will not support them in their current format. And let's face it, spending £5 million on the park just so it can be dug up a year later is pointless.'

The South Bank Centre's chief executive, Michael Lynch, described the position as a 'real problem'.

'We badly need to get the company on-board as it has the power to kill the scheme off, ' he said.

Spokesman for the Waterloo Community Group Michael Ball agreed the Japanese developer's current position on the garden's future could 'block the latest proposals'.

'All the stakeholders have strong veto cards, but have decided to set them aside for the moment as a way of ensuring we finally make some forward progress, ' he said. 'But Shirayama will not join us in the consensus that we need.'

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