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LONDON-The London Borough of Merton and the Greater London Authority have granted planning permission to Countryside properties for an £80 million ($115 million) mixed-use project on a 10-acre site at Merton Abbey Mills near Colliers Wood in South-West London.

Thedevelopment will include 284 apartments, a 40,000-sf health andfitness centre which will be operated by Virgin Active, a 120-bedroom hotel for Scottish & Newcastle, two new restaurants totalling6,000 sf, craft workshops and a heritage centre to showcase thesite’s history and archaeology. Countryside bought the site in April 2000.

A package of highway and environmental improvements hgave been agreed as a condition of the planning consent including a new bridge over the River Wandle. Countrysideexpects to start construction in Autumn 2002 with completion due in Summer 2005.

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