Just two bidders out of the original shortlist of four are still in the running for the cultural space in Berkeley Homes' One Tower Bridge development at the Potters Fields coach park, Southwark Council has confirmed.
Last December the council revealed a four-strong shortlist for the much-vaunted cultural space in the redesigned housing-led One Tower Bridge development for the controversial Potters Fields coach park site.
Now it has emerged that the Sportworld and British Sport Museum bid, as well as an anonymous bidder of "significant stature", are no longer in the running – leaving theatre collective Shunt and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum as the only two proposals left on the table for the 8,000 sq m cultural space which will sit below the development of 374 riverside homes.
"In nearly eleven years as a ward councillor I don't think I've seen a planning application more consulted upon locally even before it's been lodged than this one," council leader Nick Stanton told council assembly last week.
"Some stakeholders, I think, have now had three rounds of consultation.
"As I understand it, it is hoped that Berkeley will be lodging a planning application some time next month.
"We have gone public that we are talking with Shunt and with the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum about being potential users of the site.
"The only secrecy that there is around this entire endeavour is the necessary commercial confidentiality that will appertain to a development agreement between the council and Berkeley [Homes], which of course is necessary to protect council taxpayers' interests."
Meanwhile Berkeley Homes, which wants to turn the former St Olave's Grammar School into a boutique hotel, has dropped controversial plans for a new lift tower designed by Ian Ritchie (architect of the so-called 'dalek' towers previously proposed for the adjacent coach park).
Instead Berkeley has hired Squire and Partners, the firm behind the new designs for the coach park site, to incorporate new lifts inside the old school, thus avoiding the need to attach a new structure to the outside of the listed building.