Page 42 of next week’s cabinet papers:
“Also, a key plus point regarding Skypark was the prospect of a turn-key guaranteed maximum price arrangement to completion of a new HQ that would minimise uncertainty and reduce risk”.
This reads as if EDDC were expecting their new HQ to be constructed (by whom?)ready to move into at a fixed price (turn-key). They say in their paperwork that it was only after “due diligence” and a “legal opinion” on 4 June 2014 that a situation about the need to take account of EU regulations was revealed, coincidentally around the time that the supermarket was reducing the price it was prepared to pay for the Heathpark site.
Of course, we cannot know what went wrong for sure as all costs and cost deliberations have been kept secret not only from the public but also from the majority of councillors of all parties.
This debacle urgently needs Overview and Scrutiny and/or Audit and Governance intervention – and possibly a report by internal and/or external auditors so that those involved can learn from their mistakes and other councillors can understand what was being done in their name and work out how to stop it happening in future.
Presumably the Cabinet will recommend one or more of these actions at their meeting next week.
I think your “presumably” bit is pretty optimistic!
The bases for EDDC keeping the Skypark numbers confidential were:
a. That they were works in progress and not finalised; and
b. They were commercially confidential due to ongoing negotiations to purchase Skypark land and build offices.
Once Skypark is absolutely rejected by Cabinet, these criteria no longer hold true, and EDDC will presumably now need to disclose the papers requested under FoI legislation.
All this secrecy hints at an attempt to negotiate a single tender deal. For the sums involved this could never have been in the public interest. EU rules are designed to open up public procurement to competition. Will we ever know the truth?
Doesn’t this beg a few questions?
Like, Did the embedded consultant, Steve Pratten of Davis Langdon/Aecom Ltd not identify the E.U. issue?
And have we had good value for the in excess of £250,000 the Davis Langdon/Aecom consultant contract is costing?
Seems like massive waste.