Countryside’s team with London and Amsterdam, one of three shortlisted for the scheme, has been named as reserve team for three months for the redevelopment. Countryside insisted that any conflict of interest brought about by being on both the reserve and the winning team would be clarified before it joined Bradman.
It is understood that Bradman, whose team includes Frogmore Estates, is keen to make use of Countryside’s social housing expertise.
Insiders claim that the Bradman’s lack of housing experience has concerned the council. One said that as housing constituted the largest proportion of the first phase of the scheme, it had to act quickly.
It is also understood that housing was the principal reason why the Countryside/London and Amsterdam team had been named as reserve team.
The insider said: “Southwark has reservations about Bradman’s scheme. They don’t want to find themselves in a position where they can’t resolve those concerns with Bradman and at the same time don’t have a reserve team already in place.”
One concern is over the replacing of the existing Heygate housing estate with a shopping centre planned by Bradman.
The insider said: “There is a major decanting issue for the team to deal with to replace Heygate with more affordable housing.”
Another worry is the practicality of having a road tunnel underneath the new shopping centre.
A source close to Countryside said that the idea of them joining Bradman’s team was mooted before last week’s decision was made.
He said: “This was spoken about earlier. The suggestion was that if Bradman won there would be a need for them to have Countryside.”
The entrance of Countryside into the team could see them join up with HTA Architects, also on the Bradman team. HTA resigned from the Countryside/Taylor Woodrow team on the £250m Millennium Village scheme in Greenwich last summer following a dispute over the project’s sustainability and innovation targets.
A Countryside insider played down the significance of a reunion between the firms, saying they were already working together on another project. He said: “I don’t think that a falling out on one project should tar the brush for all other work between us and HTA.”
The consultation process with residents on Bradman’s plans is expected to last until the end of the year. Planning will begin in 2001 and construction is due to start in 2002.
Others in the design team include Foster and Partners, KP Architects, Benoy, TR Hamzah & Yeang and Llewelyn-Davies.