Plans to revitalise Wandsworth High Street have been delayed until at least 2021, despite the fact the council has been pushing for the scheme for a decade already.

Work was expected to begin in 2018, with the starting date having already been pushed back from 2017, but Transport for London (TfL) is progressing “cautiously” because of uncertainty over buying the land needed to make the changes.

The project will take cars off the part of the High Street between Garratt Lane and Buckhold Road, at the front of the Southside shopping centre, leaving it free for pedestrians, buses and cyclists.

The aim is to make the High Street more attractive and welcoming for people to shop, eat and drink, with trees planted and wider pavements also planned.

It is hoped the new homes, shops and restaurants opening on the site of the old Ram Brewery can herald a fresh start for a high street that lacks vibrancy.

The delay was discussed at a Strategic Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny meeting on November 14.

All councillors agreed to reaffirm their support for the scheme, although there were worries about the cost – the council will pay up to £27.5 million or 50% of the total cost, whichever is lower.

Councillor Rosemary Torrington, who chaired the meeting, said High Street is “like the M25 going through Wandsworth town”, and the work is vital to improve the area for the public.

TfL now expects the scheme to cost about £80m, and some of the land might need to be bought using a Compulsory Purchase Order, which could take up to two years.