Were you one of the handful of Long Preston villagers who gamely turned up at the sparsely attended annual Parish Meeting on March 6th (which by strange coincidence clashed with the date and kick-off time of a televised UEFA Champions League match)?
If so you may recall the loaded question posed by a tame stooge on behalf of former LPPC chairman Nick Thwaite, who remains a parish councillor despite his resignation from the chair, allegedly due to “lack of time”.
The stooge’s carefully phrased question was in two parts …
- What was the annual cost of the grass cutting when carried out by Cllr Thwaite?
- What is the quoted annual cost of the grass cutting to be carried out in 2013 by the local contractor Horton Landscaping?
The answer to question one was £1,500. And to question two: £3,750.
These seemingly telling figures had the desired effect. The concerted buzz that circulated through the village hall was, to say the least, meaningful. On the figures cited, it would seem that the oft criticised Cllr Thwaite had been good value for money after all.
Or had he?
What the questioning stooge did NOT ask (presumably because it wouldn’t have suited Cllr Thwaite’s book) was this: What was the total cost to ratepayers of purchasing and maintaining the mower on which Thwaite sat whilst collecting his fat fee?
Nor did the stooge choose to ask whether there had been a less expensive tender for the contract other than that quoted by Horton Landscaping?
Had the stooge chosen to ask this key question, the answer would have been YES.
The other firm concerned has asked not to be named for commercial reasons but holds grass-cutting contracts with several other Parish Councils within Craven and is highly commended and competitively priced – or so this blogger understands from the chairman of one of those councils.
In order to be sure of my facts, I contacted the firm in question and was informed that it had indeed tendered for the Long Preston contract via recorded delivery. I understand that its quoted price for a one year contract was circa £3,000 pa, with a discount for a three year term.
The firm’s owner tells me that his highly competitive tender was never acknowledged – formally or otherwise – despite its signed-for delivery.
Other contenders for the Long Preston grass-cutting contract in previous years – among them two who live in Long Preston – have also complained that their tenders remained unacknowledged.
Now, dear reader, why might that be? This blogger can only guess and invites you to do likewise!
Please share your thoughts via the ‘Comments’ facility below.