Tower Hamlets played down its failure to appoint an RSL, saying that several housing associations had shown interest since the first round. Matin Miah, acting director of the New Deal for Communities, said: "A decision hasn't been made because it was felt that the residents needed more choice."
Industry insiders said the council's original terms were unacceptable and that the business plan was unrealistic. One source said the masterplan, drawn up by HTA and EDAW and adopted by the council in March last year, was "undeliverable".
Architects PRP, Shepheard Epstein Hunter and John Thompson & Partners were shortlisted to work on improving the masterplan in November last year.
The selection of the preferred masterplanner now looks likely to be delayed by the search for an RSL partner.
The Ocean Estate scheme involves the refurbishment and development of 1800 homes, the demolition of 750 homes and 190 new-build houses for cross-subsidy private sale. It is one of the largest stock transfer schemes ever proposed in the UK.