Family slam tender process

The car park at the park off Swansfield Park Road, Alnwick.
The car park at the park off Swansfield Park Road, Alnwick.

A family have accused Northumberland County Council of incompetence after not being told that a popular ice-cream spot, which they had last year, was back out for tender.

As a result, the Waters, of Skye’s Ices, have not been able to submit a bid – and they say the deadline closed last month.

They fear it will have a huge impact on the business.

The company, which is run by 25-year-old Lee, secured the patch at the Park, off Swansfield Park Road, in Alnwick, for a period in 2012.

The area is well-served, being in close location to Alnwick South School as well as both the Lindisfarne and the Duke’s middle schools.

But now the family fear they have lost the site this time round.

And they are pointing the finger at the county council.

Lee’s mother Jackie, from Shilbottle, said: “We won the tender last year and it was quite a good one.

“We were told that we would be sent the tender forms when the process was due to open again. We haven’t received a tender form, nor were we told it had gone out to tender.

“It has always been their policy to send out tender forms for people who have put in for a tender in the past.”

Jackie said that they spoke to the authority at the start of March and were told that a tender notice was placed in a North East regional newspaper on January 1, before being told it was actually in the January 14 edition, with a closing date of February 8.

But when the family checked the paper, they couldn’t find the advert.

Jackie said: “I think it is a lie. It hasn’t been advertised. It is the incompetence of the county council which angers us. We will go to the chief executive.

“They didn’t notify us to put a tender in. An apology is no good. This is Lee’s livelihood. He has children to feed.

“It will have a detrimental impact on the business.”

On Monday, Jackie told the Gazette that, at the end of last week, the spot had not yet been allocated to anybody.

The family currently has ice-cream pitches at Rothbury and Craster.