Legal threat over the loss of contract

A BUSINESSMAN is threatening to take North Tyneside Council to court after an 11th hour decision to withdraw a contract from him.

Dan Miller had spent two years drawing up plans to open a new Sambuca restaurant at the mini golf course on the north end of the Links in Whitley Bay and to improve the visitor attraction.

But despite getting planning permission to move ahead with his proposals, cabinet members agreed last December not to rent the site out as a restaurant.

The council then looked for another potential partner for the site, but after failing to find anyone that it felt matched the requirements, the authority took back ownership of the golf course.

However, Mr Miller has said he will take the council to the High Court for breach of contract and will also contact the Local Ombudsman.

Speaking to the News Guardian, he said: “I’m in the process of issuing proceedings against them for compensation.

“And I’m also reporting them to the Ombudsman for misconduct.

“The council asked me to take on the golf course.

“The officers were supportive of my plans for a restaurant and I got a ten-year lease from the council.

“I’ve invested money in the golf course and the kiosk with the intention of putting a restaurant in to cross-fund the losses of the golf course and to put drainage in to stop it falling into the sea.”

Mr Miller had also secured the services of North East Chef of the Year John Connell and was in the process of employing the 14 other staff needed.

“I believe the council are in breach of contract,” added Mr Miller.

“The whole thing has been a complete farce.

“The officers did a fantastic job but then the politicians got involved.

“How can anyone expect to do business in North Tyneside when officers make recommendations, do the business and then the politicians come in and overturn the decision?”

Mr Miller added that the golf course is losing £35,000 a year and is in need of immediate work including new perimeter fence, construction of new clifftop footpath, improved drainage and moving the greens and tee boxes.

A council spokesperson said: “The authority has acted in accordance with the terms of the tenancy agreement and at the present time is unaware of any legal proceedings or ombudsman investigation.

“It is seeking to operate the mini golf facility for the benefit of residents and visitors this summer.”