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Elephant developer selection could be delayed till June

The selection of a developer for the regeneration of the Elephant and Castle could be delayed till June or beyond, Southwark Council has confirmed.

On Tuesday night the ruling Lib Dem-Conservative executive considered Southwark Council's new corporate plan. This document gives June 2007 as the indicative date for the selection of the council's development partner for the 1.5 billion regeneration of the Elephant and Castle.

The council executive was expected to select one of the two remaining bidders as the council's partner on Tuesday 27 February. Papers had been issued for the meeting due to have been held at London South Bank University's Keyworth Centre.

Southwark Council leader Nick Stanton admits that "confusion internally" between different council departments played a part in the short-notice cancellation.

"It didn't make sense to force a decision by that date," explains Cllr Stanton

The council leader insists that the delay "won't materially alter the timetable of the physical regeneration happening at the Elephant".

"I don't think that we've added years onto the regeneration project," he added.

He described the June date shown in the corporate plan as "indicative" and "not set in stone".

As recently as last November the council announced that it had expected to select a partner by the end of 2006, so a June decision would represent a six-month delay.

Subway removal 18 months behind schedule

The council's corporate plan also reveals that the removal of the southern roundabout at the Elephant and Castle and the replacement of the subways with surface pedestrian crossings has been delayed until January 2008.

When the council announced the initiative in January 2006 they said that they planned to start work in June 2006.

Cllr Stanton rubbished recent press reports linking the road layout changes to the delays with the development partner selection for the overall regeneration scheme.

He insisted that the removal of the unpopular pedestrian subways is "an intrinsic part of the regeneration" but explained that as a London Development Agency-funded project on Transport for London-controlled roads, "it's not one of those things we [Southwark] can get on with on our own".

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