One of the many things that is puzzling us about the Princes Parade Project is how Tibbalds were first appointed as Shepway’s latest set of consultants.
There are two main contacts – one for £91k and one for £98k. For some reason the normal procurement procedure was not used for the first contract – that for £91k. Instead a waiver was requested on 20 March 2016 and approved on 11 April 2016. The reason given was “The application is complex in nature and,in order to meet the proposed timescale and aspirations of cabinet, The Head of Strategic Development Projects considers it expedient to the efficient management of the project to waive contract standing orders in relation to the appointment of a planning consultant.”
But why the hurry? As the waiver says the decision to prepare a planning application was made by cabinet on 4th November 2015. At that stage there were 2 unknowns – whether KCC were able to co operate about the new primary school and whether the leisure centre could be built on The Green in Hythe.
Nevertheless, it would surely have been possible to start the procurement process for a planning consultant without knowing these details.
On 24th February 2016 Cabinet met to discuss the restrictive covenant on the Green. The public were excluded from this discussion but the upshot was that the leisure centre would be on Princes Parade after all. The agenda for that cabinet meeting makes no reference to Princes Parade nor the school but the waiver claims that at that meeting it was also revealed that the school would not be included in the scheme.
On 13th April 2016 cabinet met again – this time to discuss Land Use Options for Princes Parade dated 17.3.16 as prepared by Tibbalds we believe under a third much smaller contract issued before either of the two main contracts. However prior to this 13th April meeting , one of Shepway’s officers was proposing an inception meeting to Tibbalds to take place on 18th April which rather suggests that Tibbalds had been appointed , at least unofficially, well before the waiver was granted. Not to mention that the decision to proceed as agreed at that 13th April meeting was a foregone conclusion.Waiver for Princes Parade Planning Application (Tibbalds) (1)