Welcome to the forum Grahro.
1. They have just signed up a new Surveyor in May 2015 (Keegans). My estimate is you will be lucky to see any quotes before Christmas. They are having to re do much of the work the last surveyor did.
2. If work starts in early 2016 you'll be doing well. See what happens at the tender stage. They need at least 2 comparable quotes first before a contractor can even be considered. Then the matter will need to go to a tribunal too.
3. Cheapest quotes from last Surevoyor was around 65-75k. Highest quote was over 100k. You need to ignore all this talk of quotes in the 44k region as from what I have read these do not cover all aspects of the works. Expect prices to be higher this time as material costs, vat changes and council grants will be all be affected.
Overall this is a very large, complicated project that has been plagued with bad decision and residents interfering. I think this new Surveyor is a much larger firm and will hopefully be able to make this project happen.