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Southwark picks civil servant to drive major regeneration

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Southwark council has replaced high-profile Fred Manson with an architect-trained head of regeneration to push forward gigantic schemes such as the £1.5 billion Elephant & Castle project, writes Jez Abbott.

Paul Evans, who trained in architecture at Cambridge University before switching to the civil service, is moving from the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, for which he is director of the urban policy unit. He becomes director of regeneration in early November. 'Part of my task is to move on with schemes such as Elephant & Castle and regeneration in north Peckham and make sure they start moving forward, ' he said. 'But it is not so much the specifics of individual schemes but policies and ideas.'

Evans has been 'seconded' from the DTLR and will stay at Southwark for two years.He led preparation for the Urban White Paper, has worked closely with Lord Rogers and championed devolving services to neighbourhoods through the local government initiative, the New Deal for Communities.

Evans said he steered away from a career in architecture because he wanted more involvement with development and housing issues. He has been in the civil service for 26 years.

Fred Manson announced his early retirement in July after 15 years with Southwark, the past five as director of regeneration. The 57-year-old US citizen has been described as a regeneration visionary and was awarded an honorary OBE last year.

He helped drive projects including Peckham Library, Tate Modern and Elephant & Castle - including a transport interchange overlooked by a Foster and Partners tower block.

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