One Year On – 12 September 2013 Dartford Crossing Changes 

The Government announced improvements to a discount scheme to help local people who regularly use the Dartford-Thurrock Crossing.  Local residents, particularly those with privately owned vans, will benefit from the new way to pay.  From March 2014, people registered in the local resident discount scheme will be able to make unlimited trips over the crossing for just £20 a year. This option will also be open to local residents who privately own a two-axle vehicle, including vans.  In addition to the changes to the residents scheme and as part of a package of measures to ease congestion and improve traffic flow at the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing, a new free-flow charging arrangement is due to be introduced during October 2014. This will see barriers removed and people able to pay before they cross, either online, by phone or at certain service areas.

One year on we are just a month away from the free-flow charging arrangements being implemented.  For more information and to find out how to keep up to date with developments about Dart Charge, details are here or follow @DartCharge on Twitter

One Year On – 12 September 2013 Acacia

At Dartford Borough Council’s Cabinet meeting the Acacia Hospitality Contract was discussed.  Tenders had been invited for the management of weddings, entertainment and related operations at the Acacia Mansion House, Marquee, Gazebo, Ballroom, Bar, Coach House and Darent Suite.  Three tenders were received, and these were evaluated by a panel of Members and officers.  This report recommended the award of a contract.

It was resolved that the results of the tender for the management of weddings, entertainment and related operations at Acacia be noted; that a contract for the Acacia Mansion House, Marquee, Gazebo, Ballroom and Bar, Coach House, and Darent Suite, be offered to Tenderer 2, on detailed terms to be agreed by the Managing Director in consultation with the Portfolio Member for Leisure; and that a lease be granted to Tenderer 2 to run concurrently with the management contract, on terms to be agreed by the Managing Director in consultation with the relevant officers.

However, this subject was brought back before the Cabinet at the next meeting in October 2013 as following discussion with the successful tenderer it was felt necessary to report back on the financial implications of the award, which differed from those previously reported, and invited Cabinet to reconsider the award.  It was resolved that the reasons for re-evaluating the tenders for the Acacia hospitality contract as set out in this report, be noted, with similar resolutions as the previous meeting.

One year on, this matter does not appear to have been brought back before the Cabinet or General Assembly of the Council.  It must be assumed that no agreement was reached with the tenderer and that the Acacia facilities are not being used to their full potential. Perhaps at some stage DBC might like to let Dartford residents know what plans they have for this fantastic venue. No doubt all the time it is under used, it is causing expense to DBC and Council tax payers.

About the author

Andy Clark is retired after a long career at Lloyds Register and subsequently the Civil Service. He has lived in Dartford for his entire life.

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