The prime Knowle site in Sidmouth, home of East Devon District Council, has come on the market.
The site, which covers nearly five acres, has been home to the council’s headquarters since the 1970s, but the increasing cost of maintaining and running an ageing building stock, coupled with the occupational inefficiencies, have prompted the Council’s decision to move.
The property, is not listed and is not within a Conservation Area.
The site has a draft allocation for 50 dwellings in the emerging East Devon Local Plan, which is expected to be adopted during 2015.
The site extends to approximately 4.76 acres and the council expects to be in a position to grant vacant possession by May 2017.
The Council wants to reach an agreement with the Town Council of Sidmouth whereby they take over ownership and management of the remaining parkland and this is the subject of discussion. Otherwise, EDDC will retain and manage the parkland in the absence of another agreement.
Nick Jones, Director of Savills in Exeter said: “The Knowle is a very special site in a stunning location and we expect to receive strong interest from a wide variety of parties. The site could suit a range of uses and it will be interesting to see what proposals come forward as a result of the marketing campaign.”
Richard Cohen, Deputy Chief Executive, stated: “The Knowle site represents a rare and high quality development opportunity.
“The existing building stock at the Knowle is now not fit for the Council’s purpose and our decision to relocate has been driven by a desire to deliver a modern council from modern offices. We are open minded about future uses for the site and the Council believes that the redevelopment opportunity within a retained parkland will be an attractive development and a strong legacy adding to the vibrancy of the town.”
The Council is also disposing of their nearby Manstone Depot, which extends to 1.33 acres and is situated within a residential area accessed off Tully Gardens, 1.2 miles north of the town centre. The property is currently used by the District Council as its depot facility.
The site has the benefit of a draft allocation for 20 dwellings within the emerging East Devon Local Plan. The Council expects to provide vacant possession by the end of 2015.
The sites are being offered for sale by informal tender and the deadline for submission of offers is Wednesday 22nd October 2014.