Cross River Tram at Elephant and Castle.
'Elephant revamp delayed by blunders'
Mar 9 2007
By Ryan Kisiel
BLUNDERING bureaucratic errors are claimed to be the real reason a
£1.5billion regeneration scheme has been delayed.
Southwark council blamed competitive bids for the hold-up in choosing
a developer to transform the Elephant & Castle last week. But
construction magazine Estates Gazette claims Transport for London
(TfL) has blamed the setback on Southwark's regeneration department
for not being up to scratch after three years of planning.
Council sources say the department had apparently not completed
financial assessments and not given TfL traffic study details in time.
Project bosses were supposed to choose between Lend Lease and St
Modwen on Tuesday last week, but postponed the announcement. No new
date has been set for the decision. A spokesman for TfL said it still
had to review the proposals, but sources said it was unhappy with
A crisis meeting between senior council bosses and TfL has been
organised for next week. The setback comes as council chief executive
Annie Shepperd has created a major projects team with an interim
director to handle big regeneration schemes.
This is believed to have meant a job re-shuffle in the department.
Councillor Kirsty McNeill, who represents Elephant & Castle residents,
said: "This is yet another setback for a project that has seen
people's hopes continually raised and dashed for several years now.
It's staggering that, at this late stage, Southwark's ruling coalition
is still in dispute with TfL, one of the most important stakeholders
for the whole project. The regeneration department continues to treat
the redevelopment of Elephant & Castle as an entirely technical
project, when actually the most important thing about it is the people
at the heart of it."
TfL is believed to have objected to Southwark's plans to scrap the
southern roundabout and north gyratory system and replace it with a
wide T-junction and pedestrian crossings. Sources at TfL say they were
not fully consulted by the council and have objected to the cost of a
Tube station at the heart of the project.
The council released its plans to create 5,200 homes and a shopping
area in August.
Cllr Richard Thomas, executive member for regeneration, denies the
He said: "The Elephant & Castle project is on course to make dramatic
improvements to the area, for pedestrians, residents and shoppers.
"The council's plans, including those for removing the southern
roundabout and the hated pedestrian subways have been in the public
domain since 2004, have widespread support from local people and our
partners. Far from there being delays, the regeneration of the area is
being driven forward at every stage." We are confident that continuing
the negotiations with both bidders, rather than choosing one at this
stage, will result in an even better deal for Southwark."
Will this have an impact on the consultation of the Cross River Tram?
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