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Council complied for design selection

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I write following a telephone call from Rob Sharp, and your piece on the professional services contract for design services for the Media Centre 3, Huddersfield (AJ 10.2.05). Mr Sharp seemed to be particularly interested in the procedures which the council is using to appoint a design team for this project.

As part of its submissions to Yorkshire Forward and to the Government Office for Yorkshire and Humber for grants towards the project from the Single Pot and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the council required building design to RIBA Stage D in order to obtain detailed permission. To this end, and through a competitive tender process under the council's contract procedure rules, it engaged the services of a design team to produce an imaginative and innovative design for the building.

It was made clear at the point of awarding that contract that if the project proceeded beyond that stage, it would be necessary for the council to invite tenders for a further professional design services contract in compliance with EU regulations through notification in the OJEU. This circumstance was fully understood by the consultancies comprising the first design team.

The council has been successful in securing the necessary grant contributions to allow the project to proceed through to implementation and is in the process of selecting a team to provide design services. Each of the consultant practices in the first design team submitted bids for the second contract. The staged selection procedure requires assessment of the bids against specified criteria notified in the tender documentation. This procedure is still in process but those bidders who, on assessment, have not passed to the second stage have been advised of that fact.

The council must conduct its business in compliance with the relevant legislative requirements. In the case of this particular project, the council expects its procedures to be audited by external, government-appointed auditors as a condition of its receipt of grant from the Single Pot and the ERDF.

The council believes that the development will make a significant contribution to both the Huddersfield Urban Renaissance and Creative Industries programme. It is one of three imminent projects in Huddersfield town centre that afford opportunities for innovative architectural approaches in a valued heritage townscape.

Roland Sansom, principal development officer, Kirklees Metropolitan Council

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