23 June 2010
The National Park Authority Board today (23 June), decided by overwhelming consensus to continue with the process to appoint a preferred bidder for the Luss Visitor Centre. Purdies of Argyll will now enter lease negotiations with the National Park Authority to operate the Centre.
A number of businesses and a local community organisation approached the National Park Authority with an interest in running different ventures from the Centre. The National Park Authority took into account a range of factors in deciding the preferred bidder including best value and National Park aims.
Speaking about the decision, Colin O'Brien, Deputy Convener of the National Park Authority said:
"The Board overwhelmingly agreed to proceed with the appointment process. At an economically challenging time for Scotland, the leasing of this building to Purdies of Argyll is great news for the local economy as a number of local posts will be created to work in the centre. In making this decision, the Board had a duty to ensure that a fair and transparent process was maintained for all parties concerned.”
The preferred bidder will continue to provide a high quality tourist attraction whilst supplying the huge numbers of visitors to Luss and the National Park with local information. Any funding raised from the lease of the Visitor Centre will be explicitly re-invested by the Park Authority in visitor management in Luss and West Loch Lomond.
Luss Community Development Trust Chairman, Iain Wragg, said, “Whilst disappointed that our approach was ultimately unsuccessful, we are looking forward as a community to working with the National Park and Purdies of Argyll to deliver the best possible solution for Luss. We hope that the local community will still be involved in delivering a great service to visitors.”
The National Park Authority considered the community submission with great care and noted the strength of feeling among local residents. However, following the National Park management's decision to refer the tendering process to the Park Board, the decision to appoint the preferred bidder was made.
Denise Purdy, Managing Director of Purdies and recently-named Entrepreneur of the Year, said: “We are very excited to be identified as the preferred bidder for the Luss Visitor Centre and are committed to providing the best possible service to Luss visitors and residents in keeping with National Park aims.”
The tenders were assessed against:
- Meeting NPA Aims
- Environment Management System
- Proposed Term of Lease
- Quality of Submission
- Added value
- Rental Income
- Savings to NPA