The Parish Clerk issued the following Press Staement to Emily Craigee of the Gazette following the EGM on 30th May 2022 called to discuss the Community Centre bidding process.
At an Extraordinary Meeting of Nunthorpe Parish Council held on 31st May 2022, the Parish Council welcomed Ian Wright (Middlesbrough Council’s Director of Finance) and Louise Grabham (Head of Commissioning and Procurement). This Meeting was convened for Middlesbrough Council to explain recent correspondence announcing the re-start of the process to construct Nunthorpe’s Community Centre – a process established by Middlesbrough Council and accepted by all parties in October 2021. The meeting was open to the public, and was attended by representatives of the Nunthorpe and Marton Playing Fields Association, who had submitted a bid to construct and operate the Community Centre.
Parish Councillors appreciated Mr Wright’s apology for neglecting to consult those who had submitted bids before he decided that the Council’s process could not stand up to challenge.
The Parish Council was also grateful for his clarification of unfortunate ambiguities in his letter, and in particular welcomed his assurance that reference to the need to be “free of perceived conflict of interest” did not relate to concerns about the conduct of either of the parties or of any individuals who had participated in the bidding process. Mr Wright undertook to confirm this reassurance in writing. He stated that the concerns leading to his intervention arose because the Council’s need to undertake “due diligence” had not been clearly documented at the start of the process, and therefore he had decided that the process must be restarted on the basis of a clearer specification. The plan outlined at the meeting is that the new process will begin within a few weeks and will take about three months.
In the light of the comments from Mr Wright and Ms Grabham at the meeting, the Parish Council will now be consulting with the partners in the Consortium – Nunthorpe Community Council and the Nunthorpe Institute.