Work to refurbish and expand the Albrighton Centre on East Dulwich Estate should have begun in early 2007 and have been completed by the Summer. The work would have extended the centre with the addition of an extra floor providing much needed additional space. The precise extent of the works has been carefully considered by the members of the East Dulwich Estate Project Team ('EDERPT') at many meetings over recent years.
So it was a truly awful surprise to hear at last night's meeting that a structural survey of the Centre has revealed that an extensive steel frame will now need to be built around the Centre as the current structure cannot bear the weight of the additional floor, and that the works will now take 12 months!
To a layperson like me it does seem that the cart may have been put before the horse in this case - why a structural survey was not carried out earlier is incredible.
The impact of this news is significant. If the Project Team had known originally that adpaptation works were going to take up to 12 months they may well have decided on a new-build project for the Albrighton - which would provide better value for money and have taken only 8 months. However, the Team decided to support the adaptation route as it would mean a quicker delivery - 6 months - and demonstrate some early physical regeneration of this Estate to its many residents who have become so disillusioned with the process since it first began in 1998.
I am personally very disappointed by this development and will be working together with my fellow councillors, EDERPT and excellent officers like Tony Hunter to find a way to get this project back on course as soon as practicable, with a solution which meets the needs of the East Dulwich Estate.