Torbay cutting contractors will face no penalties for overgrown grass
TORBAY'S grass cutting contractors will face no penalties for the overgrown grass in the Bay in May and June because of the exceptional weather, it has been confirmed.
Lib Dem leader Steve Darling had questioned why contractors Tor2 were not being told to pay penalties by Torbay Council after grass grew too long in the early summer.
Mayor Gordon Oliver has now written confirming to him that the contract had clauses allowing the contractor to avoid penalties in exceptional circumstances.
In the letter, Mr Oliver said: "The reason for such clauses is that, for a contract of this type, which is ten years long, unforeseen circumstances can arise that the contractor could not predict at the time of tender.
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"Also a lower cost can often be achieved if the council is willing to share some of the risk. It is normal for almost all service contracts to have relieve clauses associated with extreme weather.
"The rainfall in May/June was reported to be the highest since 1910 and was considered to be extreme."
Mayor Oliver said Tor2 put in extra time cutting in high-profile areas and has caught up its rounds since that period.
Since that time Tor2 has been expected to provide the service to the contract specification.
Cllr Darling said: "It is perverse that Torbay Council allows contractors to forgo financial penalties when they are failing to fulfil their contractual duties.
"This is especially hard to take when the same contractors are able to demand a £400,000 increase in their annual payments from the council at a time when millions of pounds of cuts are being made to the council's budget."