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Go Ape's Forest Café in Trent Park under threat after Enfield Council admits contract 'mistake'
The controversial Forest Café in Trent Park is under threat after Enfield Council admitted “human error” affected the way its contract was awarded.
The café, which is run by an adventure playground company Go Ape, took over from the family-run Trent Park café in April after apparently offering the highest bid to the council.
However, the council carried out a review of the bidding process after receiving a petition from campaigners and found a “mistake” was made in assessing one of the bids.
It is now calling for the original bidders for the café – which the Enfield Independent understands to be more than 20 – to rebid for the lease.
A statement, released from Enfield Council, said: "Following the petition received by Enfield Council about the Trent Park café tender the council undertook a full review of the way the contract was awarded.
"Whilst confirming the tender process this review has highlighted that a mistake was made by the council’s team in assessing the commercial value of one of the tender offers.
"The council can confirm that the error did not affect the potential placing of the previous tenant’s bid.
“This mistake was as a result of human error at the council and was unrelated to any of the businesses tendering.”
It was thought Go Ape offered the highest bid for the site, but it appears a new separate bidder – not the previous leaseholders – actually offered a higher price for the café.
Couple Rosa and Dennis Marzocchi were forced to leave their business, which they had run for 30 years, to make way for the new leaseholder.
Jerome Mayhew, managing director at Go Ape, said: “Whilst we are obviously disappointed to have to re-start the tender process we understand that mistakes do sometimes happen.
“Everyone wants a fair process and we will join in with the other tenderers to give our best offer to Enfield Council.”
Go Ape was given the café on a 12-year lease and is expected to pay the council more than £350,000 in rent during this period.
It rebranded the café and spent £100,000 on refurbishing the site before opening to the public in June.