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BurlandTM housing grounded by Al Fayed heliport turbulence

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Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed has held up plans for a luxury riverside housing scheme next to his Battersea heliport in London. Agents for Al Fayed have lodged an 11th-hour objection to BurlandTM's Falcon Wharf on the grounds that the 16-storey scheme will compromise safety at the heliport.

Ravi Govindia, chair of Wandsworth planning committee who approved the scheme before Christmas, said the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had already judged the situation safe. 'We assumed they knew what they were talking about, ' Govindia said. 'It seems very odd that the CAA have not said, 'oh my God, this is dangerous'.'

The hitch is the latest in a long-running saga. The £30 million residential scheme, for developers Frogmore Estates and Harbour Land, has been the focus of a bitter dispute between Wandsworth and mayor Ken Livingstone over the provision of affordable housing (AJ 4.10.01). Planning permission for the scheme was finally granted on 13 December.

Al Fayed's initial objections were taken into account when permission was granted, Govindia said. 'If Al Fayed's agents don't put forward anything substantially different, I don't see us making a different decision.'

Wandsworth will reconsider approval of the scheme at planning committee in March. James Burland, director of BurlandTM, said he was confident that the scheme did not compromise safety and that approval would be given.

Agents for Al Fayed refused to comment.

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