Former BBC property director Ian Robertson is to have a key role in talks on delivering the £800m Paddington Health Campus PFI project in west London

Robertson has been appointed as lead negotiator for the PHC team in its discussions with developer Chelsfield over a possible land exchange deal.

Last week, the two parties announced a collaboration agreement to explore the use of land north of the Grand Union Canal for part of the hospital scheme.

Owner Chelsfield is interested in swapping the site, thought to be worth at least £100m, in exchange for an alternative site owned by one of the health trusts. One option would be to trade lucrative land occupied by the Royal Brompton Hospital at King’s Road, Chelsea.

However, such an arrangement could be complicated by the fact that Chelsfield is facing a possible takeover. Bidders for the developer, which went private in January, include Australian firms Multiplex and Westfield.

Westminster council planners are due to give their initial comments on the proposed site configuration next week.

The gateway review calls for the team to include people 'who can break the mould'

These discussions come as further evidence of the poor management of the scheme has emerged. Building has seen a copy of the findings of a government “gateway review” into the running of the hospital scheme, published in November last year. The independent review of the scheme published earlier this month referred to the earlier report, but gave no details.

The review’s 22 recommendations include:

  • Making the project “mission critical”, including appointing a proactive responsible minister;
  • Strengthening the project team immediately with “people who can break the mould”, including a technical director with authority to put together a design team, a project executive with “sales aplomb” and a heavyweight project manager;
  • Urgently undertaking surveys, including site conditions;
  • Implementing a five-point good-practice plan, which is essential for complex projects;
  • Appointing non-executive directors with construction and PFI experience to the newly proposed PHC steering board.

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