Harrogate and Knaresborough Liberal Democrats have criticized the Borough Council over how the contract was managed for the repair of the West Park are of the Stray, following damaged during the UCI cycling event.
Libdems have criticised Harrogate Borough Council on the following:
- Several requests by a Liberal Democrat councillor have resulted in parts of a previously secret report being released for public scrutiny.
- The contract to restore West Park Stray following catastrophic damage during the cycling championships of the previous autumn was awarded to a firm in Chorley, Lancashire through a process of single tender, meaning only one company was asked to quote.
- Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) decided to award the contract to Glendale Managed Services of Chorley despite denying the opportunity to quote for at least two local firms who subsequently said they had the capacity to do the job.
- That HBC’s excuse was that ‘time was of the essence’ as the land had to seeded by the end of May to catch the growing season. The seeding did not actually take place until late June.
Cllr Geoff Webber, leader of the Lib Dem group on North Yorkshire County Council,said:
At the very start of the lock-down the county council asked North Yorkshire businesses, including district councils, to ‘shop local’ in order to preserve employment and business in North Yorkshire. I was disappointed at the time that the HBC leader and cabinet decided to ignore that request, particularly since several of them serve on both councils.
The report now shows that they accepted the recommendation to award the contract to Glendale on the basis that it was a ‘local supplier’.
I find it incredible that Chorley, only 8 miles north of Wigan, is considered to be local.
So much for supporting local businesses.
Harrogate Borough Council have responded and said that the criticism is unfounded:
- Glendale Services were initially approached to provide the services as part of a compliant Grounds Maintenance Framework. The price was acceptable and progress was underway for contracts to be signed. However, this was superseded by the outbreak of COVID-19.
- Glendale Services advised us that it was not in a position to sign the contract under the framework due to the implications this could cause during the current pandemic. However, they were able to carry out the works upon our standard terms and conditions for service for the same cost, and given the optimum period for reseeding was imminent, we approved the appointment.
A council spokesman said:
Time was of the essence for these works, and given the optimum period for reseeding was fast approaching, we approved the appointment of Glendale Services. This is recorded in a decision notice which was published on our website.
Once the necessary preparation works had been carried out we awaited the correct weather window before reseeding. Something we have been very clear about in our updates.
We got the right window in June and you’ve only got to look at the area now to see how well it is doing.
The information about Glendale Services is incorrect. Their head office is in Chorley but they also have a depot in between Harrogate and York, and employ a number of local residents.