CLAIMS that procurement laws were breached over York’s proposed community stadium have finally been responded to by City of York Council’s chief executive.

Mary Weastell has written to local governance campaigner Gwen Swinburn, who listed nine reasons at an executive meeting early last month why she believed the Monks Cross project breached UK and EU procurement laws.

These included the use of a competitive dialogue procedure under 2006 public contracts legislation, under which negotiations were not allowed after the tender was received, bar minor tweaks.

Ms Swinburn said there had been ‘multiple material changes’ from the final submitted tender and suggested the authority should cancel the procurement and start again if her concerns were found correct.

Ms Weastell apologised for the delay in responding to her complaint, which was due to independent legal advice she had been given.

She said the council had ‘throughout had proper regard to the regulatory framework within which this procurement is taking place’.

She said the contract for the stadium project was being run under the competitive dialogue procedure, which was specifically introduced to help procuring authorities work up with bidders suitable solutions for their tendered requirements and was designed to be flexible.

She said members had throughout the procurement exercise been provided with legal advice as appropriate and required. “Members have therefore taken decisions on full advice at all stages of the project.”

Ms Swinburn said she was ‘appalled’ by the email from Ms Weastell, saying: “I took many hours researching my questions and then wrote each one separately, so it was easy to reply.

“Then I get this waffle back, which could have been sent at the start of December. Citizens and ratepayers are being treated as fools.”

She said she planned to ask the chief executive to address each question in turn and also to request senior councillors to insist they were answered in full, adding: “These are questions every citizen should be asking. It’s our money after all.”