Brockley Common redevelopment hit by asbestos setback

It has already been discussed in a few places on Brockley Central, but this update on the progress of the Brockley Common project from the BXAG website is worthy of its own post.

On June 16th, they Darien Goodwin, Head of Transport, Lewisham Council wrote:

The works in general are progressing well. The site was nominally split into two areas; the steps and the ramp, with the focus being on constructing the step structure as a priority. This was to allow the footbridge and ticket office to be re-opened earlier as it was possible to fence off this area on completion and continue with works to the ramp separately. The paving is currently being laid to the steps and ticket office access and it is intended for the footbridge to be re-opened at the end of the month (June 2009), weather permitting. The scheme as a whole is about 3 weeks behind schedule.

The original budget was estimated at £182k which included work to provide a route through the earthen mound and the creation of a DDA ramp with steps to the south and performance area atop the mound and northern stepped access. The budget was made up of nearly £8000 from the remainder of the Mayors Growth fund for the area, £146000 from the Council’s Others Services Capital Programme of which £71k would be reimbursed from the Department for Transport Access for all small schemes and £28000 from Section 106 funding. The Access for All money cannot be claimed until the ramp has been constructed and signed off by Network Rail and was allocated funded in the 08/09 financial year, but the council successfully managed to ensure that this was accrued for 09/10.

Despite carrying out a ground contamination survey prior to the commencement of works, during the course of construction near surface asbestos sheeting was found. As a result work was delayed while a specialist company was called in to carry out the safe removal of this material.

The cost of this amounted to £150k, which represented nearly 83% of the original budget. There will be additional costs incurred by the council's own contractor that are being determined. The implications of this has meant the council has had to review the project to ensure sufficient funding is available to make good the current works and open up the station access. Officers also need to ensure the costs are contained and that there will minimal additional costs for which there is no budget.

It is possible to provide the primary objective of the scheme, i.e. to provide DDA-compliant access by means of the southern steps and ramps, although funding will have to be identified and sought from the cost overrun of £150k, plus any other contractor costs associated with this . It is proposed to seek approval from Mayor and Cabinet on these additional costs from the existing OSCP funding, which would result in other potential station improvements not proceeding.
There is the concern that the northern section of the site could also be contaminated which would involve costly removal which is not budgeted for. As a result the council will complete the southern steps, the ramp and the piazza area only and will have to omit the performance area and northern steps. This decision has not been taken lightly, and will be a disappointment to the Brockley Cross Action Group who have put in so much hard work in working with the council in helping to deliver this important project, but in view of the current extensive cost overrun, the full project is not achievable at this time and any further work would require more detailed feasibility and an understanding of the total costs of providing the performance area and northern steps which is not planned or budgeted for.