Plans for a £4billion regeneration project to transform Brent Cross Shopping Centre have been handed to the Secretary of State.

The application was approved by Barnet Borough Council’s planning committee in January, but the authority has since referred the decision to Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Developer Hammerson and Standard Life wants to rebuild Brent Cross into a huge shopping destination creating new parks, school facilities, more than 27,000 jobs and millions of pounds worth of transport improvements.

The Secretary of State had 21 days to decide whether to call in the application, during which time the council could not officially grant planning permission.

But more time has been requested to assess the application and discussions are ongoing over a Section 106 agreement in which the developer will fund local services.

A council spokesman said: “As is only sensible with a scheme of this size the council has referred the Brent Cross application to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

“It is not surprising given the scheme’s complexity that his department has asked for further time to consider the application.”

A spokesman for the Brent Cross Cricklewood development partners said: “Every planning application over a certain size is referred to the secretary of state and sometimes he asks for longer than the 21 days he is initially allowed. 

"It is a normal part of the planning process and in the meantime we are continuing our discussions with Barnet Council over the detail of the Section 106 agreement.”