Frontline services will suffer as Westminster pays �600,000 to parking provider

Council concedes frontline services will “inevitably” suffer after agreeing out-of-court settlement with company which missed out on parking contract

Westminster council has paid a �600,000 out-of-court settlement to a parking services provider despite admitting the decision will “impact frontline services”.

Mouchel, who had been named as the preferred bidder for Westminster’s parking contract in March 2010, lost out on the contract when the council decided to re-tender it and award it to NSL in June last year.

After launching a legal challenge against the decision, which saw them lose out on a �50million-a-year contract, Mouchel has now been awarded a �600,000 settlement.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of Westminster Labour group, said: “This is another �600,000 wasted by the Conservatives which will now result in cuts elsewhere in the council’s activities to pay for this massive blunder.

“At a time when �60million is already being cut from the council’s budget, when nursery staff are being sacked, when services to vulnerable older people are being cut and when the St James’s Library is being closed, this massive �600,000 out-of-court settlement is further evidence of the Conservatives’ total and complete financial incompetence.”

But Councillor Lee Rowley, cabinet member for parking, said the new parking contract would save more than �10million over four years compared to the council’s previous contract.

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“We are disappointed that Mouchel were unhappy with the way this contract was awarded and that we have been forced to reach a settlement with them, despite the fact that the loss will inevitably impact frontline services,” he said.

“I would like to stress that this decision was not taken lightly. We have not admitted liability and had the matter gone to court we believe our case had a good prospect of success.

“But when faced with expensive courts costs and the risk of an outcome that could have seen the council having to pay out up to �4million in compensation, we felt a settlement was the only responsible course of action to take.”