• Campaigners: EDDC office move “extravagant”

    10th September 2013 | News | Claire
  • Unfortunately, apart from the occasional EDDC news sheets that proclaim how delapidated the buildings are, most councillors and members of the public don’t have a clue what is happening because discussions on the plans to move are all held behind closed doors, with agendas and minutes marked confidential, we are informed, for commercial sensitivity reasons.

    The last time a set of EDDC meetings about a major piece of work took place behind closed doors with CONFIDENTIAL rubber stamped across minutes, it spectacularly backfired.  And the committee’s chairman is now being investigated by the police. It was of course, the local development framework panel, which met in private between 2008 and 2011. 

    Here’s the press release:  ……………………………………………………………………

    East Devon Alliance Chair Ian McKintosh today said that many residents in East Devon will be increasingly concerned that EDDC’s plan to move its HQ from Knowle Sidmouth, might be much less “cost neutral” than was promised last year by Council Leader, Paul Diviani.

    Following a meeting of the EDDC Cabinet on September 4th, Cllr Diviani said that expressions of interest are to be sought for the Council-owned Heathpark site in Honiton to test the market. 

    He said that the council is committed to exploring all options for a new office site as well as maximising the values from its landholdings. One option was to sell the Heathpark site as well as Knowle and Manstone Depot in Sidmouth to pay for a new headquarters.

    EDA Chair Ian McKintosh commented: “This is the first time that the Council Leader has suggested that it might be necessary to sell three council-owned sites to fund the move. There is growing disquiet that the costs of relocation will get out of hand as they have in West Dorset where a similar project has left the District Council millions in debt”

    “Already EDDC admits that it might be necessary to borrow over £4 million before assets can be realised. Former council leader, Peter Halse, at July’s full council meeting argued powerfully that the relocation plan should be dropped because it was too financially risky.”

    “Tax paying residents of East Devon will be puzzled that their council is embarking upon such an extravagant enterprise at a time of austerity when all are being urged to tighten their belts”