Morley withdraws from Broadmead scheme

Morley Fund Management has pulled out of the Bristol Alliance, the consortium put together to carry out the£500 million Broadmead development in Bristol. Its stake has been bought by the two remaining partners in the consortium, Land Securities and Hammerson.

The move follows Morley's decision to sell its neighbouring Galleries shopping centre to the Mall Fund. Fund manager Ian Womack described it as a 'repositioning' of Morley's interest in the city.

Morley is the second institutional backer to walk away from the Bristol project. Last year, Henderson Global Investors withdrew, citing a desire to lessen its exposure to high-risk funding situations. Anchor tenant Selfridges also withdrew after its takeover by the Canadian-based investor Galen Weston.

However, Land Securities and Hammerson said they are committed to taking the project forward. They have repaid the investment Morley has made and are buying a number of properties owned by Morley that are part of the site.

Land Securities chief executive of development Francis Salway said: 'We have made very good progress in advancing the Broadmead development and obtained all necessary planning consents. We look forward to working with Hammerson and the city council.'

Consent was granted in December last year for 1.5 million sq ft (139,350 sq m) of development, including 900,000 sq ft (83,610 sq m) of retail space. The scheme will provide retail outlets, cafes, bars, restaurants, residential apartments and public spaces in the heart of Bristol, as well as leisure facilities and offices. Work is expected to start in mid-2005. The development will open in 2008.