AN extraordinary meeting of Ilkley Town Council has been called to address a complaint over the handling of a contract to refurbish the Riverside Gardens public toilets.

Ilkley Town Council took over responsibility for the toilets in 2019 when Bradford Council was going to close them. The block was in a poor state of repair after years of neglect.

In June, the town council agreed to sign a contract worth £112,708 with the company Healthmatic to go-ahead with the conversion of the toilets into four self-contained cubicles.

However, Ilkley resident Roger Yaxley has now lodged a formal complaint with Ilkley Town Council claiming it failed to follow due diligence during the tendering process.

He said: “The one tender was not put out to advert, and as such the quotation was not formally evaluated, the town council relied on their preferred contractor in Wiltshire.

“Like most of Ilkley I am very concerned that no tendering process was put in place, and did not satisfy the Public Contract Regulations Act 2015, the job was not advertised locally, or on any other public sector platform. Procurement rules exist to ensure local suppliers have a chance to compete, and ensure tax payers are getting value for money, and to protect councillors from any charge of underhand practise or favouritism.”

He was informed this week an extraordinary meeting of full council will be summoned on November 17 at which the issues raised in his letter will be discussed and solutions identified.

Mr Yaxley added: “I am very pleased that the council has called this meeting and hope that a full tendering process for the toilets can now take place which ensures value for money for the council tax payer and allow local firms to tender for the work.”

Planning permission for the work was granted by Bradford Council on November 3. The application had attracted objections from local residents and organisations, including Ilkley Civic Society and the Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks (FOIRP).

However, granting permission Bradford Council planning officer Heather Flack said: “Whilst the criticisms of contributors are noted, local planning authorities must approach decisions on proposed development in a positive and creative way and should only request supporting information that is relevant, necessary and material.

“The information available has enabled an appropriate and informed assessment of the planning merits of the proposal to be made, and it is concluded that this application presents what are modest and entirely beneficial improvements of this community facility that should be fully supported.”

A spokesperson for Ilkley Town Council said: “Ilkley Town Council is pleased that its planning application for the refurbishment of the Riverside Gardens toilets has been approved, and has noted any conditions placed on the works.

“As previously indicated, the town council will inform local residents when work is due to commence, and will endeavour to ensure a minimum of disruption. No date has currently been set.

“The complaint of a resident regarding the refurbishment of the Riverside Gardens toilets is being considered at an extraordinary meeting of the town council on Wednesday, November 17. The council is unable to comment further at this stage.”

All council meetings are open to the public and the public will have the opportunity to ask questions in the public participation slot on the agenda. The meeting starts at 5.45pm in the council chamber.

There will be a resolution at the start of the meeting where the council will consider whether to exclude the press and the public for consideration of the complaint.