The preferred masterplanner is unlikely to be selected until January, three months later than planned. Julia Ingall, project officer at Tower Hamlets council, said the delay was largely because of the number of responses. "We had more than 30 expressions of interest. The selection panel wanted three on the shortlist, but at one point this was going to be seven. We decided to go with a more sensible number."
Sources close to the council said that bureaucratic problems had contributed to the delay. A brief will be sent to the architects by the end of the month.
Architects HTA and EDAW drew up an initial masterplan last year for the 25 ha area but the council wanted a second practice to produce a more detailed scheme to obtain planning consent.
There were going to be seven on the shortlist, but we decided to go with a more sensible number
Julia Ingall, project officer, Tower Hamlets council
An advertisement inviting teams of architects and quantity surveyors to pitch for the masterplan was issued in June. It said: "Tower Hamlets council, working with the New Deal for Communities Board for Ocean Estate, wishes to appoint consultants to progress the housing masterplan, the principles of which have been agreed by the NDC Board."
HTA was among the practices that submitted an expression of interest for the scheme, which is considered a flagship New Deal for Communities project.