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Olympic Park development plans ‘challenging’ due to procurement market

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has highlighted concerns about its East Bank development at Queen Elizabeth Park in Stratford in the “challenging” economic climate.

LLDC CEO Lyn Garner told the London Assembly that the £470m development, which is being project-managed by Mace, still has office and residential projects set to come through planning permission and tender, but that the current London market could affect the procurement process.

The LLDC is set to deliver 10,200 homes overall by the end of 2019, with the whole East Bank project set to be complete by 2023. It will also involve new buildings for UCL, BBC Music, and Sadler’s Wells and London College of Fashion.

Board member Peter Hendy, who is also Network Rail chairman, said: “I don’t think we’re short of risk and assurance methodology, but the fact is that the construction industry in the UK and London is not in a good place at all.

“We are someway through the tendering process for the construction packages and it would be fair to say it is challenging.”

Ms Garner said that the LLDC is hopeful about bringing in the project “as close to budget as possible” but that they need to see how the market is going to respond after Brexit.

Speaking about possible delays and cost escalations, Ms Garner said that there are “a number of risk and assurance lines built into the process” such as quarterly meetings with a Mace representative for an “informal conversation that goes into detail about how the project is working on the ground”.

She said: “The schemes will need to be prioritised because there are an awful lot [of them].

“We still have a lot of development to come on the park, such as the later stages of the International Quarter London (IQL), which so far has built about half of its office developments with the other half still to come.”

Project manager Mace also won the £200m contract for the University College of London (UCL) Olympic Park campus last year as part of the LLDC’s overall East Bank regeneration scheme.

In April, Mace hired ex-Aecom director John Hilton to lead the East Bank project in Stratford.

Housebuilder Redrow said yesterday it was pulling back from London where its land holdings have shrunk in the past year. It said the capital was vulnerable to Brexit uncertainty and the end of Help to Buy in 2023.

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