Freedom of Information requests:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: further FOI requests
East Devon District Council - view and make Freedom of Information requests - WhatDoTheyKnow
Futures Forum: Crony capitalism and lemon socialism in East Devon...The costs of "substantial growth and expanding business"
Jobs and homes? You might be better off somewhere else in the south west | East Devon Alliance
Gittisham residents voice concerns over approval of 300 homes at public meeting | Susie Bond
Development of brownfield sites should be prioritised over greenfield | Susie Bond
A new supermarket for Honiton:
Futures Forum: The future of Heathpark: a conflagration of issues...
Asda for Honiton Heathpark? That would explain EDDC not choosing the site | Sidmouth Independent News
Public Rights of Way:
Futures Forum: Public Rights of Way through Knowle: County Council have now included three footpaths in the Definitive Map
Footpaths at the Knowle | Save Our Sidmouth
Futures Forum: Inquiry to look at issue of Town/Village Green for Knowle: Thurs 10th April
No to ‘Village Green’ for Knowle | Save Our Sidmouth
The District Council's cabinet will be meeting on Wednesday 4th June to look at these issues.
Here is the full agenda, published this weekend:
And here is a series of comments from the East Devon Alliance blog (starting at 23rd May and finishing at 25th May):
£705,568 – THE MINIMUM SPENT OR PLEDGED SO FAR ON THE MOVE TO SKYPARK (ACCORDING TO OUR COUNCIL’S OWN FIGURES)
Cabinet Agenda 4 June 2014
4. To approve next phase of project funding.
A further £203,882 is projected to be required for the remainder of 2014/15 bringing total project development cost to £705,568
KNOWLE SHOULD NOT BE MARKETED UNTIL AFTER OUTCOME OF VILLAGE GREEN APPLICATION SAY EXPERTS
Page 55 of agenda for EDDC Cabinet merting of 4 June 2014:
Marketing of Knowle/Manstone
It was our aim to carry out a marketing exercise in time to report to July 2014 Cabinet and Council on developer interest. Land agents have been interviewed and, in discussion with the Relocation Executive Group, it is recommended the Council employs Savills, an experienced property agency, to manage a marketing exercise for Knowle and Manstone. The tendering exercise for the section of consultants has been completed, and marketing could commence. However, whilst all agents regard the sites as an attractive development proposition of significant value, their advice has been to hold off commencing marketing until there is clarity regarding the outstanding Town and Village Green application for parts of the Knowle.
OH, NAUGHTY KNOWLE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION – YOU HAVE UPSET EDDC!
Cabinet agenda HERE
Extract from page 55:
Town and Village Green (TVG)
Using the vehicle of a TVG application, a group of objectors, under the banner of Knowle Residents Association (KRA), are attempting to inhibit EDDC’s ability to develop part of the areas of Knowle designated within the draft Local Plan for residential use.
A TVG application was made after the rejection of the Knowle outline planning application in 2013. Should the application be wholly successful it would prevent development of Knowle outside the immediate boundary of the current offices. Evidence was submitted by both parties to Devon County Council as the determining authority and EDDC has been pressing for a resolution since the autumn. A one day inquiry was held in the Council Chamber on 10 April 2014 for a barrister appointed by Devon County Council to hear legal argument.
Whilst prospective developers can accommodate a degree of risk when calculating a value to offer for a development (Judicial Review for example) a TVG is a potentially draconian restriction. The Knowle Residents’ Association original application included Knowle car parks, depot and the external space around the offices including the terrace : sites identified by EDDC for residential development in the Draft Local Plan.
The KRA has subsequently retreated from trying to designate the Knowle Depot site but continues through the remainder of its TVG application to try and prevent development of the upper carparks and immediate surrounds of the office buildings.
At the time of writing this report, we await the inspector’s report to County on his view of the TVG application. Pending clarity on the next steps we have paused the marketing exercise for Knowle and Manstone. The TVG application has added time and cost to the Council’s relocation planning.
AND NAUGHTY DCC AND PLANNING INSPECTORATE – YOU HAVE UPSET EDDC TOO!
Same agenda as post below
Rights of Way
Another approach to attempt to restrict the Council’s development plans for parts of the Knowle has been Right of Way (RoW) applications.
These applications were originally rejected by Devon County Council but on appeal against that decision the Inspector directed the County to make Orders in respect of two routes (one of which itself splits into two routes). The County made the Orders in March and the Council (and others) have lodged objections to the Order.
The Planning Inspectorate will now deal with the matter. It is anticipated that the appeals will be heard (method yet to be decided) in the Autumn. The Council may well choose to withdraw its objections, which may shorten the process slightly, but it will still be determined by the Inspectorate due to other objections (unless they too are withdrawn). It is probable that a final outcome (so either a dismissed appeal or confirmed Order) is likely to take until early winter.
As was made clear in the Feb 2014 Cabinet report there are a number of ways that objections may be mounted toward the Council’s relocation plans. Project costings have reflected the potential impact of delay and the costs that such objections may result in for the Council.
AND HERE’S SOME NEWS ABOUT HEATHPARK AND THE SUPERMARKET!
From the same Council agenda of 4 June 2014:
Heathpark Supermarket Development – Feb 2014 Cabinet and Council reports agreed the selection of Terrace Hill as preferred developer for EDDC’s former SITA depot site on Honiton Heathpark and authorised officers to enter into a conditional contract with Terrace Hill.
Officers have been in further negotiation with the developer involving the Project manager and Council Legal team. Following agreement of Heads of Terms, we are now agreeing t contract terms. This will enable the developer to begin the process of preparing their planning application for a supermarket development. We anticipate that an application will be made later this calendar year.
Funny that we seem to get lots of press releases about puff jobs for the council but very little about hard facts stuff like this.
AND MORE FROM THIS PACKED-FULL AGENDA! A REFERENCE TO THE EAST DEVON BUSINESS FORUM!
Business Space Review – As part of the redevelopment of the Council’s Heathpark site, the East Devon Business Centre will be vacated. In preparation for this, Cabinet agreed in April to review.
Its approach to the provision of business space and support across the district.
EDDC currently provides business units across the district comprising office and workshop space in a variety of locations. The question of succession to EDBC [they mean EDBF, of course] has given us the opportunity to look again at how we can help meet the needs of business into the future in a world of enterprise and entrepreneurism very different to that when the Heathpark Business Centre first opened its doors.
Lead members for business and officers have carried out a tender exercise and interviewed four different consultancies. The chosen company, Carter Jonas, will begin their work shortly, gathering evidence over the next few months and report back their findings and recommendations by September 2014 at the latest.
AND WE’VE SAVED THE BEST TILL LAST! HOW EDDC IS GOING TO “TRANSFORM” ITSELF WHEN (IF?) IT MOVES TO SKYPARK!
[square brackets and BOLD are our comments]
Transforming the council
Relocation is a central part of our plans to transform this Council into an organisation that meets the needs of its residents and businesses in an accessible, cost effective and joined up way [oh, no, the dreaded jargon joined up!]. So that we can keep abreast of customer demand and rising customer expectations, East Devon is working hard to transform and modernise the way staff go about their work and the ways in which customers can do business with the council. Key to these new ways of working are a number of projects which include the following:
Mobile device policy rollout – this will ensure that officers will have the right IT equipment to allow them to work from home, flexibly (between home and office) or in a mobile way. [Er, does this mean an iPad for every worker perhaps and no-one ever needing to actually work at Skypark?]
Creating a fully ICT equipped mobile workforce will help us improve efficiency and customer service.
Open for business – web channel – this project will see us totally revamp our website using the principles already established by the successful gov.uk website. As well as fresh content which is easier to find, this project will deliver 230 additional on-line services for our customers [230 more online services - can you imagine it - well, if you don't have a computer you can't]. We know from the feedback in from our Viewpoint Survey that 72% of our customers are satisfied with our services [anyone see the survey? It would be ripped to shreds by any professional survey organisation!] but we want to improve this figure by offering our services where and when our customers want them [er, I think you will find they want them in Sidmouth, or possibly Honiton but certainly not Skypark!].
In addition to this East Devon is currently reviewing facilities across the district to understand what existing space we can use for mobile officers to ‘touch down’ across the district so that they will not need to make unnecessary journeys back to the office [a new phrase! we are not having "hubs" any more - they are "touch downs"!]. We are also drawing up proposals to firm up what service provision will be available for customers across the district following relocation [translation: we have no idea what we are going to do].
Public and stakeholder engagement and consultation
[Isn't this interesting: the headline shows that EDDC doesn't consider the public to be stakeholders!]
We will be carrying out consultation with our equality partners and from a Best Value perspective to help us understand what service provision customers, key stakeholders and partners would like to see around the district following relocation. [Anyone like to try to translate what seems to be like meaningless jargon again?]
We continue to update staff on progress and following this report further staff sessions will be arranged. Additionally, we continue to communicate externally and our communications strategy is constantly under review. The stakeholder meetings, East Devon Extras and engagement with all media channels regarding office accommodation have been helpful in getting our messages out there. These will continue. [groan, groan: sounds like the staff are going to be brainwashed and the media is going to continue to be blasted with pro-move propaganda]
East Devon Alliance | Bringing together the people of East Devon