U-turn on Dalby contracts

THE FORESTRY Commission has done a u-turn and will invite firms to bid for a second time to run facilities in Dalby Forest after a series of protests.

They were being led by Purple Mountain, fronted by Castleton businesswoman Vicky Griffin, after the firm lost the contracts to run the bike hire and cafe services.

Vicky and her team felt the process was unfair and that they had been ousted in favour of bigger national companies.

She even arranged a meeting with Caroline Spelman, the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over several issues including the lack of appeal procedure.

Just days before the new contracts, awarded to Pace Cycles and Eurest Services for the bike and cafe facilities respectively, were due to start this week, the Forestry Commission announced it was going to ask firms who had made it past the first stage of the tendering process last time to bid again.

A spokesperson said: “In light of concerns raised by some of the potential suppliers bidding for the cycle hire contract at Dalby Forest, the Forestry Commission has reviewed the tender process it used.

“So that the companies competing have confidence that the assessment is run fairly we have decided not to award the contract.

“The tender documents will be improved to make it absolutely clear that the interviews will be used, along with the paper assessment, to make the final decision.

“We are sorry for the delay and uncertainties caused to our customers and suppliers and hope to have a cycle hire firm in place as soon as we can to build on the great experience cyclists can have in the forest.”