LCR to pay up Stratford City Olympic village masterplan cost

London & Continental Railways has been left to foot the bill for the Stratford City masterplan by the warring members of the Stratford City consortium.

LCR has been paying the design team for its work on the east London site since March, which was when relations between the Stratford City consortium partners, Westfield and the Reuben Brothers, broke down.

This week the dispute, which could affect the construction programme of the Olympic village, seemed in sight of resolution after it emerged that Westfield was likely to pay £110m to the Reuben Brothers and £32m to developer Stanhope, the third party in the consortium, in order to proceed with the scheme.

But even if Westfield emerges victorious, it will have to enter into a series of tough negotiations with LCR, which threw both developers off the site on 28 April in a last-ditch attempt to get things moving.

A spokesperson for LCR said it regarded the end of the developers' war as the less important of the two issues to be resolved.

He said: "I wouldn't want to underplay the significance of the ownership issue getting sorted out. However the bottom line is that the notice to terminate was not issued over ownership issues but because of the breaches in the agreement over the Stratford City masterplan."

This breach included stopping the payments to members of the design team, including Fletcher Priest, Arup and West 8.

A source close to LCR said it would be sitting down with Westfield to thrash out a new agreement, which could provide some compensation for footing the consultancy bill.

The source said: "It's got to look at the options with the eventual owners and look at how to find an acceptable remedy to the breaches to the regeneration agreement."

However, the source added that this could take the form of a negotiated settlement, rather than repayment. "We wouldn't suggest an automatic recourse to litigation."

Westfield could bring in joint-venture partners and sell on the rights to build a total of 4850 homes on the Stratford site. Interested parties could include Barratt, Crest Nicholson and Bellway.

Westfield declined to comment.

Meanwhile the Olympic Delivery Authority unveiled the final design for the Olympic masterplan. The final Olympic park will be more compact to improve location, access and use of the park's facilities for London and the UK after the Games.

The revised design of the Olympic park retains the venues for the Olympic stadium, the aquatics centre and Olympic village, but volleyball will now move to Earls Court.

A spokesperson for the ODA said the masterplan would need to be resubmitted to the five boroughs affected by the Olympics.

She said: "The masterplan will need to be tweaked. The size of the site has not changed but some of the venues have moved around."

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