Tuesday, 16 October 2007

The Northern Development Road -- it's official! Bad news for Norfolk County Council and their partners May Gurney

A very interesting document has fallen into my hands. It is the letter sent to Norfolk County Council by the government, on the question of whether the proposed 'partnership deal' with May Gurney for the building of the Northern Development Road (NDR...) is legal or not (see http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2007/10/northern-lots-of-unwanted-new.html ). The answer is that the government believes it is not.
Here is the heart of the letter (emphases in second para. mine):
"The key question for us is the scale and proportionality between what the strategic partnership contract was set up to do and the scale of the proposed major scheme...

From our view, the scale of the proposed NNDR is entirely disproportionate to the scope of the framework and therefore it is our view on your proposals that the use of the framework contract would be potentially illegal. We are not convinced that the construction of the proposed Norwich Northern Development Route (NNDR) can be procured under the subsisting "strategic partnership" contract.

If Norfolk proceeds along this proposed route, we believe that there is a real risk of a complaint being made to both the Commission and/or the English High Court. If there was a complaint and we were unable to satisfy the Commission that the scale of the NNDR is proportionate to the original value of the contract, then that complaint could result in infraction proceedings against the United Kingdom Government on the basis that Norfolk County Council is an emanation of the State. Depending on the timing of any complaint, any proceedings in the High Court could also lead to the suspension of any proposed contract, a proposed contract being set aside or damages awarded.

I am afraid that our overall conclusion and strong advice is therefore that Norfolk County Council should not proceed any further with appointing May Gurney to construct the Norwich Northern Development Route scheme through its Strategic Partnership contract and should instead commence a new procurement for this scheme."

This goes even further than my previous post on this issue surmised, and way further than the _EDP_ article on this, which only said, quoting the County, that proceeding with the cosy deal with May Gurney would be "inappropriate".

Let us hope that the media pick up the true full gravity of this government reprimand for Norfolk County Council's proposed actions.

Remember... you read about this key aspect of this story here, first!

p.s. It is also intriguing to note the name that the government uses to describe the NDR: namely, the 'Norwich Northern Development Road'!! Now THAT is truth in advertising...

The funding of this road is all about encouraging more development around the north side of Norwich, which will worsen congestion, not ease it.

If only the County had been honest about that, and called it, as the Department of Transport is doing, a Development Road rather than a Distributor Road (still less a 'bypass'), then perhaps far fewer members of the public would have been hoodwinked into supporting it and paying lots of Council Tax already for dodgy deals with May Gurney, etc etc...

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1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: The Northern Development Road -- it's official! Bad news for Norfolk County Council and their partners May Gurney 4. 12. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 23. 24.

25. 26. The Northern Development Road -- it's official! Bad news for Norfolk County Council and their partners May Gurney 27. 28.

29.
A very interesting document has fallen into my hands. It is the letter sent to Norfolk County Council by the government, on the question of whether the proposed 'partnership deal' with May Gurney for the building of the Northern Development Road (NDR...) is legal or not (see http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2007/10/northern-lots-of-unwanted-new.html ). The answer is that the government believes it is not.
Here is the heart of the letter (emphases in second para. mine):
"The key question for us is the scale and proportionality between what the strategic partnership contract was set up to do and the scale of the proposed major scheme...

From our view, the scale of the proposed NNDR is entirely disproportionate to the scope of the framework and therefore it is our view on your proposals that the use of the framework contract would be potentially illegal. We are not convinced that the construction of the proposed Norwich Northern Development Route (NNDR) can be procured under the subsisting "strategic partnership" contract.

If Norfolk proceeds along this proposed route, we believe that there is a real risk of a complaint being made to both the Commission and/or the English High Court. If there was a complaint and we were unable to satisfy the Commission that the scale of the NNDR is proportionate to the original value of the contract, then that complaint could result in infraction proceedings against the United Kingdom Government on the basis that Norfolk County Council is an emanation of the State. Depending on the timing of any complaint, any proceedings in the High Court could also lead to the suspension of any proposed contract, a proposed contract being set aside or damages awarded.

I am afraid that our overall conclusion and strong advice is therefore that Norfolk County Council should not proceed any further with appointing May Gurney to construct the Norwich Northern Development Route scheme through its Strategic Partnership contract and should instead commence a new procurement for this scheme."

This goes even further than my previous post on this issue surmised, and way further than the _EDP_ article on this, which only said, quoting the County, that proceeding with the cosy deal with May Gurney would be "inappropriate".

Let us hope that the media pick up the true full gravity of this government reprimand for Norfolk County Council's proposed actions.

Remember... you read about this key aspect of this story here, first!

p.s. It is also intriguing to note the name that the government uses to describe the NDR: namely, the 'Norwich Northern Development Road'!! Now THAT is truth in advertising...

The funding of this road is all about encouraging more development around the north side of Norwich, which will worsen congestion, not ease it.

If only the County had been honest about that, and called it, as the Department of Transport is doing, a Development Road rather than a Distributor Road (still less a 'bypass'), then perhaps far fewer members of the public would have been hoodwinked into supporting it and paying lots of Council Tax already for dodgy deals with May Gurney, etc etc...

30. 31. 32.