Private company to run Welwyn Hatfield car parks?

SHELVED plans which could see a private company running car parks in Welwyn Hatfield are back on the table. The idea was mooted earlier in the year, but councillors dismissed it after they decided not enough money

SHELVED plans which could see a private company running car parks in Welwyn Hatfield are back on the table.

The idea was mooted earlier in the year, but councillors dismissed it after they decided not enough money would be saved.

Private contractors were asked to bid to run the car parks at Campus West, Campus East, Hunters Bridge, Church Road and Osborn Way, all in WGC.

Only one company - NCP - was thought to make enough savings to make privatisation worthwhile.

A group of six councillors was asked to form a project management board and held confidential meetings, from which the press and public were banned, to thrash out details of the contract.

But they dismissed it after concerns 12 staff would be made redundant and the savings were not large enough.

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Now, just a few months later, cabinet members have asked council officers to approach the bidders again.

Councillor Tony Skottowe, who sat on the project board, said: "There does seem little point in having a task and finish group which makes a decision, if the cabinet then ignores it.

"We didn't believe it was economically reliable."

The Lib Dem group leader added: "If there was a decision made by a group, with a majority of Tory councillors, what is so difficult for the cabinet to understand?

"Do they not trust their own people?"

Council leader John Dean told the WHT the project board did a good job and defended the decision to look again at privatisation.

He said: "The savings are very important to our budget.

"Until we find out whether there is a reasonable deal to be done, we don't know what action we should take.

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