The £1.4 billion expansion of the Brent Cross shopping centre has been put on pause due to the "turbulent period in UK retail", property giant Hammerson has said.
Due to the "uncertainty with the current economic outlook", the property development company has decided to defer the start of expansion work at the shopping centre.
The shopping centre attracts millions of shoppers each year and was set to have its complex double in size , with more than 200 new stores, 60 restaurants, a hotel and a cinema.
Just over a month since it was reported the huge extension work would be delayed by six months , Hammerson has said the work will temporarily be put on pause.
Speaking to getwestlondon on Wednesday (July 25), a Hammerson spokeswoman said: “In the context of the current turbulent period in UK retail and uncertainty with the current economic outlook, we have taken the decision to defer the start on site at Brent Cross London.
"We remain committed to Brent Cross and recognise its role as one of London’s leading retail destinations. We will remain engaged with retailers and stakeholders to deliver our key objectives.”
The move will bring the shopping centre, which dates back to 1976, directly into competition with modern rival Westfield who own gigantic mega-malls in Shepherd's Bush and Stratford.
The huge expansion of the shopping centre will be matched by an overhaul of Brent Cross and Cricklewood costing around £4.5 billion.
The Hammerson spokeswoman added: "Whilst we have decided to defer the start on site of the scheme, it remains an important strategic project and we continue to recognise its role as one of London’s leading retail destinations.
"It also forms part of the wider Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration plans encompassing improved road and rail infrastructure and significant residential development and we remain engaged with retailers and stakeholders towards the future delivery of the scheme."
As well as doubling the existing shopping centre in size, a new "living bridge" will be built for pedestrians over the A41/A406 interchange as part of the regeneration.
A new bus station is also being built. A new town square, redeveloped parkland and 52 new homes are also part of the Hammerson and Standard Life scheme.
The development required a 370-acre compulsory purchase order so that the entire project could go ahead.