The government announcement last week that the Olympic Village will go ahead as a publicly-funded scheme has caused concern amongst firms involved in the project
While some firms expressed their ‘shock’ that the government rejected a £375 million private sector bid from Lend Lease in favour of public sector cash, others claim that a project wholly-run by the government will be subject to intense speculation and politicking, which could delay the whole process.
One source close to the project said: ‘It is not ideal. As it is the government it will have to be extra cautious and prove that everything is transparent and be seen to be making the right decision. It will mean a whole new level of bureaucracy and oversight to the scheme.
‘There will be a lot of pressure to do things as cheaply as possible. Everyone talks about long-term quality but most people are concerned about immediate costs.’
Another source added: ‘It is very unlikely there will be any change in process, because of the programme and set up, but time is tight, money is tight and I do fear a further layer of bureaucracy to audit it all.’
An ODA spokesperson denied there will be any negative impact as a result of the decision: “The Olympic Village is on schedule and there are no delays. Contingency funds were utilised to get construction started on track last year while funding discussions continued. Designs are agreed and work is underway on six of the eleven blocks with funding now in place.”
Hugh Richardson, shadow Olympic minister agreed that ‘money is a worry’ but said that he saw no increase in risk.
A further source at a firm added that, while he didn’t think any of the planning applications of the residential blocks will be reappraised to a major degree, it may give ‘a bit more wiggle room where particular concerns have been expressed.’