It was a bold vision that that took a mix of partnership and persistence to realise
In the first phase of the project, Jon Simpkin, Director, TPS was appointed project manager by MUSE, a development subsidiary of Morgan Sindall plc. The immediate challenge was to get planning permission for the site wide infrastructure and the initial development project. Part of the funding was contingent on achieving the planning go ahead on a short deadline, yet the infrastructure element presented significant obstacles. It entailed rerouting the A20, one of the top three highways heading into London, altering the course of two rivers, then moving sewers, water and gas supplies on which the whole of SE London are reliant. It was an iceberg of a project.
TPS was able to demonstrate to the developer not only that it could be done, but how it could be done in the time. Blurring the tasks of project management and development management, TPS won support for the proposal with the landowners TFL and GLA Lewisham, by mitigating the risk of disruption to existing transport networks both road and rail during the works and after completion.
There were further constraints on the project’s construction, chief amongst which was the necessity to complete the residential development to the short funding deadline. The impact on the project was that the infrastructure and the residential development projects would be concurrent, with all the difficulties of ensuring contractor access to the site even while everything around it was being dug up.
One difference of the TPS team is that it includes people with construction, design and engineering backgrounds. Rather than the more limited QS project management heritage, they know how things are built and can use that knowledge to bridge the gaps between construction, development and planning. The team was able to persuade stakeholders how to approach the development and reach important decisions to keep the project moving.
Those skills and more have been called on in phase two of the Gateway development, currently overseen by TPS project director, Katrina Briggs. The second phase is typical mixed use development—primarily residential—and adds to the forward-looking ideas for the site that reflect changing attitudes to living in the city.