Company with mountain to climb

A PETITION with several hundred signatures has been started in a bid to stop a local independent company being gazumped by a multi-national firm.

Purple Mountain, fronted by Vicky Griffin of Castleton, has for the past six years operated the cafe and bike hire service at Dalby Forest.

But, this week the company, which employs local people, discovered the Forestry Commission, responsible for running Dalby Forest, has awarded the contract for both the cafe and the bike hire to other organisations.

Pace Cycles, founded in Kirbymoorside will take over the bike facilities and Eurest Services, which already runs the cafe in the Dalby Forest Visitor Centre, will take over the Biker Bar.

Eurest is part of the Compass Group which deals with leisure, hotels, social care and entertainment among other interests.

Purple Mountain is urging people to get behind them and sign the Facebook and Twitter petitions in a bid to help it keep the contract.

It said: “We provide great locally sourced produce, bake on the premises, know the farmers who supply us, use fairtrade, organic and free range products, and make the best biker bar in the country.

“We are a local business, using local products, employing local people. So it’s goodbye to biker bar and hello big business.”

Fifteen firms from around the country put bids forward for the contract which comes into effect from the start of next month and runs for three years.

Alan Eves, Forest Management Director, said: “The high level of interest underlines Dalby Forest as a prime biking destination.

“We chose the winning bidders for their experience, expertise and commitment to build on our reputation as a family biking centre offering world class facilities on and off the trail.

“I’d like to place on record my thanks to Purple Mountain, who have operated the bike hire centre and cafe since 2006.

“They have played a significant part in Dalby’s emergence as a major biking destination.”