A spokesman said: 'We can't just keep the consultants on hold doing nothing. When it became clear the inquiry was taking longer than expected you have to re-phrase the work.
'This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone but this doesn't mean we are not confident of getting clearance at the end of the day.'
About 30 of the 60 design contractors have had their contracts reduced and the total number of people working on the project is to drop from 300 to 130 at the end of the year. The pre-development work is in its fourth year and is not expected to finish until March.