Decision Maker: Director of Resources/Deputy Chief Executive
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Approval to set aside the requirement to run an open tender under the Contract Procedure Rules to award a contract for construction works to enable letting to proceed.
Unit 47 High Street was the former KFC restaurant. When North Devon Council acquired the freehold of the property from the former Landlords of Green lanes, the property was left in the previous layout, with the KFC fit out remaining in place. The lease to KFC having expired. Letting the unit as a whole with the ground and upper floors is not viable.
NDC property team were in the process of preparing to strip out the property when two potential tenants came forward for the unit. Both tenants wanted access to trade before Christmas. Terms have now been agreed with one retailer to take the whole of the ground floor with the intention of getting the unit ready for the retailer to fit out and trade before Christmas.
Without working towards this date and the potential letting, there is a risk to the Council that this unit will remain vacant indefinitely. The void costs to the Council from not having the unit let are currently £60,000 pa.
Having previous experience working on Green Lanes before it was owned by the Council, Curry and Brown were instructed through a framework agreement to specify a strip out and fit out tender to enable a contractor to be procured for the urgent works required. This process had to be undertaken within a 24 hour period to enable the procurement and appointment of a contractor to meet the works deadline to enable any chance of Christmas trading for the tenants.
In advance of sending out the tender, Curry and Brown contacted six contractors to establish if they would be willing to tender and be in a position to complete the works within the tight timeframe. Four contractors responded positively to this. Subsequently, two contractors responded to the tender. The option to proceed with the cheapest tender was agreed between Praxis, Curry and Brown and the NDC Property Manager. While it is a requirement of the Contract Procedure Rules to run an open tender, this demonstrates a level of competition was undertaken despite the short timescales to demonstrate that best value is being obtained.
Hence the requirement for this urgent discussion request to enable the instruction for the works to be confirmed with the selected contractor.
N/A – if these works are not undertaken the unit is virtually unlettable and will continue to have ongoing negative cost implications to the Council. From a regeneration perspective, the unit as it stands creates dead frontage on this area of the High Street. The unit has been empty for 3 years. Securing this tenant is the best opportunity we have had to get a quality retail offer in this property. Running an open tender with appropriate timescales would not be possible given the tight timescales to secure this tenant.
No conflicts are relevant.
Urgent item?: Yes
Publication date: 15/09/2022
Date of decision: 14/09/2022