A new bus service via Skypark could cost £100,000 a year, confirm senior officers at Devon County Council.

Officers also confirm that the existing 4 service timetable would not permit it to be diverted into Skypark, due to time constraints.

At last month’s EDDC full council meeting, the conservative group voted in favour of starting detailed negotiations to buy land at Skypark for almost £1m and build new offices there.

Cllr Roger Giles (Independent – Ottery Town), who sought information from Dave Black (Head of Planning and Transportation at DCC) said: “The message shows that the claims made by EDDC cabinet member, Cllr Ray Bloxham – that an existing service will be diverted into Skypark – are wrong.

Cllr Ray Bloxham, EDDC corporate business portfolio holder recently said that “a bus service currently passing Skypark will be diverted to serve stops within Skypark when it is completed”.

Roger Giles said: “In fact Mr Black demonstrates that it will be difficult and expensive to achieve a service into Skypark at all.”

Roger Giles also said: “The other great concern I have is that if a direct bus service to Skypark is achieved, is it will only provide a service for Cranbrook and Exeter residents.

“There would be no direct bus service for people living in the rest of East Devon.”

“By relocating from Sidmouth to Skypark on the edge of Exeter, EDDC will damage the economy of Sidmouth, and it will damage the economy of East Devon as a whole.
East Devon`s loss, will be Exeter`s gain.”

Concerns were expressed at EDDC’s full council by residents and councillors, that Skypark would be inaccessible for East Devon residents and EDDC staff who would have to relocate because of its location close to Exeter, and its lack of a direct bus service.

At the EDDC meeting on 26 February Cllr Giles tabled a written question about the practicality of diverting the 4 (Exeter Cranbrook – Ottery – Honiton – Axminster) bus service into Skypark, because the tight timetable would probably not permit it.

Cllr Ray Bloxham in his written answer, and his answer to Roger Giles` supplementary question, was dismissive. He accused Roger Giles of “grandstanding”.

Subsequently Roger Giles wrote to Dave Black, about the matter. DCC is the authority responsible for bus services.

Dave Black also says: “Negotiations have been on-going with Science Park and Skypark concerning contributions towards bus services. It is expected that these contributions would enable the funding of a new service between Cranbrook and Exeter, routing through Skypark and Science Park which would supplement the existing 30 minute frequency bus service.”