More Opium for South Somerset

Earlier this year we revealed that South Somerset District Council’s much vaunted deal to create a battery storage facility, had been completed in partnership with Opium Power Limited. Opium Power had two directors David Tudor and Jason Dobson and was 100% owned by Opium Holdings Limited. Neither director appears to have had any previous involvement with the power industry, battery facilities or anything similar. Yet they were granted a partnership with SSDC.

Now SSDC have announced their fourth major capital project, redevelopment of an old NHS facility in Marlborough, Wiltshire and once again Opium Holdings Limited are the partner they have selected for the development. Why?

Opium Holdings Limited (which remember owns Opium Power Limited) was set up in November 2016 and is 35% owned by David Tudor, 40% by Jason Dobson and 25% by Stephen Edmonds. With minimal trading to date, it had net liabilities of £8,700 in its last filed accounts.  Messrs Tudor and Dobson are the company directors.

How transparent was the selection process that gave this new deal to Opium Holdings?

The answer to that we know. It came in an answer to questions asked by The Leveller on the last deal involving Opium.

It isn’t.

The capital projects undertaken by SSDC are processed by an internal working group of officers and councillors from the administration. It is subject to Scrutiny, but only once the deal is done and in operation. The role of the Scrutiny Committee is effectively to monitor performance, not to question the deal before it happens.

We cannot blame the owners of Opium for pitching for the work. They are business people trying to win business. But we can question SSDC. Two individuals have now been handed very lucrative contracts by SSDC. We are entitled to ask why? And who else was considered and then rejected for the work. And again, why?

There will be a full article on this in the January Leveller.

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