Stoke & Staffordshire

New Westcliffe demolition contract saves council £750k

The former Westcliffe Hospital in Chell
Image caption The council agreed to re-run the demolition tendering process in December 2009

Re-awarding a lucrative hospital demolition contract has saved Stoke-on-Trent City Council £750,000, after the BBC exposed a flawed tendering process.

The council agreed in October 2009 to pay £1.1m to demolish Westcliffe Hospital, a former Victorian workhouse.

But it re-tendered the contract after a BBC investigation in November 2009 showed it had turned down cheaper bids.

The council said it had made serious mistakes in the past but the successful firms were not involved in wrongdoing.

After re-running the tendering process, the council said it had now accepted a demolition bid from the Welsh-based firm Cuddy Group for about £340,000.

Work is due to start on the property in Chell in the new year.

The independent district auditor Grant Patterson said he wanted to see "significant improvements" in the council's tendering process in the future.

He said senior officers needed to show clear leadership and the council would have to demonstrate to him when he next reviewed it in 2011 that lessons had been learnt.

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