I was at the first event - look out for a news item shortly, but there was little in the way of new information given out in public and my question about the impact of continuing delay and uncertainty on existing residents and businesses was deftly sidestepped.
INdeed James, I looked for you and was surprised you werent there, and finally understood why. But I got the bonus of meeting your lovely Dad. I'm totally baffled by the whole stasis of the project. The famous Oakmayne Plaza, into which I spit daily, is dead as a Dodo, even though I see from the models at the exhibition that the planning was agreed in December '07. The only thing that's racing to completion is horrible Vantage which is a private initiative.
Despite utter disappointment over Jackie's post about the wrong meeting this morning, I am still biting my fingernails in anticipation of a news post that might confirm whether or nor anything is happening at the Elephant...
Here is my from the horse's mouth report, delivered to me face to face by major cheese. Also on the othr thread.
1.It's a tough market but this won't stop the developers cracking on with the masterplanning and early design work and negotiations with TfL regarding
the Southern Roundabout: TfL are waiting for final Major sign off but are preparing for the detailed design phase and consultants are meeting to progress ASAP.
2.Towards the end of the year, the Master Plan will be ready to present to the Public as part of a comprehensive community consultation exercise.
3.Printworks and Strata (Castle House) are underway already.
4.The partner (Dalkia) for the development of the MUSCo (centralised energy, water, waste, IT services) has already been appointed (the first project of its kind in the UK)
5.Final detailed design and funding for 360 London (old London Park Hotel) is nearly complete and the developers intend to be on site from the beginning of next year. The building programme is three years.
6.The traders in the shopping centre have been told by St Modwen that their leases can be extended by an extra two years (to 2012), in order for them to have longer to decide how they wish to take their businesses forward.
7.Oakmayne are optimizing their proposals for Elephant Road scheme in light of the market downturn but it is still their intention to develop
Hope this fills in some gaps for you. Fresh off the tip of the tongue of the Grand Fromage.
Thank you James "Responding to a question about the effect of the economic downturn on the ambitious £1.5 billion regeneration of the Elephant, Nigel Hugill said: "We wouldn't be in a position to start building this year or next year, so this is a perfect time to be doing the planning, to get fantastic co-operation from the architects ... and by the time we're ready to start building the economic cycle will have picked up again."
Maybe my crystal ball is cloudier than that of most people, but I cannot see the light at the end of the economic tunnel within two years. Deo volente two years hence we will have a Tory Government who will be dealing with a mess that will make it look like 1979 all over again.
Thus far the only progress is:
1. Demolition of the car dealer (weren't they advertising flats for sale for completion in December 2007? Whatever happened to them?)
2. Erection of a scaffolding Stag
3. Paving the gardens outside the (long-redundant)swimming pool.
I predict a ten year delay. I predict that those flats in the Heygate that are now empty and boarded up will be reoccupied by tenants prior to demolition.
I also predict that ten years hence the same arguments will still be raging, and the Heygate will be refurbished.
I absolutely agree, the Oakmayne fiasco is a disgrace. But they have only themselves to blame. Instead of going ahead with the plan they had already had approved, they decided to grab the offer from some Student Residence organisation in order to have a big up front sale under their belt. This meant going back to planning for a total rejigging of the plans, taking out the hotel and offices and having only residential and student accommodation etc. Naturally they didnt calculate the foot dragging of Southwark Planning (I personally warned them of this)and meantime, the financial climate caught up with them and they are probably in quite a jam. Obviously I havent seen their books so I cant put my hand on my heart about this, but Mapmaker's gloom, whilst excessive, certainly strikes a cord!
At the risk of being accused of flippancy, if Mapmaker sees "light at the end of the economic tunnel" through being governed by Norman Lamont's former adviser, then I can only be even more pessimistic than him!