Resolven Canal Car Park visitor facility – Statement from Council Leader Cllr Rob Jones
15 October 2020
There has been a great deal of rumour and misinformation on social media in particular about the new café and toilets facility at Resolven Canal Car Park that requires further explanation and clarification.
In May 2018, the council advertised for a temporary catering opportunity in the car park. It was made clear to all tenderers, including Mr & Mrs Hughes, throughout the tender process for this initial catering concession, that their occupation was temporary. It was clearly set out, that the council was submitting a grant application for funding, to convert the toilet block into a smaller refurbished toilet block and a separate café. Those wishing to tender were also advised that the highest tender bid would win. There were several applicants, and Mr and Mrs Hughes were the highest bidders. They were awarded the concession in early February 2019. There were a number of disappointed tenderers who lost out at this stage.
The council, meanwhile, had submitted its funding application to refurbish and partially change the use of the toilet block. It was successful, Planning Permission was secured and the construction work was tendered. The works will be completed in the next few months.
Mr and Mrs Hughes were fully aware of this process but decided to undertake a series of unauthorised works to their temporary facility, that would obviously be at risk if they were not to win the tender for the new facility.
As an obligation of the council’s grant funding award, as is the case with all similar funding streams, the council was required to undertake a tender exercise for the permanent refurbished facility. That is, to advertise the new facility and to request bids to secure an operator. It was therefore not the council’s decision and it was not possible to merely allow Mr and Mrs Hughes to remain in occupation although they were, of course, encouraged to make a bid themselves.
The second tender process was exactly the same as the first tender process. It was a highest bidder tender and this was clearly confirmed to all interested parties from the beginning of the process. This time Mr and Mrs Hughes were unsuccessful as they were not the highest bidder. The process was very clear and fair. Importantly, it was the same for all parties.
Some of the media posts made in respect of this issue have been very disappointing but also untrue. As with all tenders within the council, they are undertaken in accordance with very strict guidelines and a range of different officers are involved to ensure that they are fair and open. Whilst tenderers who are unsuccessful may be disappointed with the result of a tender, the process is always fair. In this instance, whilst I understand the disappointment of Mr and Mrs Hughes at missing out, it is exactly the same process that they were happy to be a part of first time around.