Friday 29 August 2014

Knowle relocation project .............................................. District Council puts Knowle on the market

Further to the latest news on Knowle from yesterday
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: FOI request goes to tribunal: latest reports... AND District Council puts Knowle on the market

... others have noticed the coincidence between the timing of the Tribunal considering documentation on the relocation project - and the District Council's decision to put the Knowle site on the market:

Knowle goes on sale as arguments unfold at secrecy hearing

Thursday, 28 August 2014 4 Comments by Claire

With interesting timing EDDC puts the Knowle up for sale, as it defends the indefensible at its office relocation secrecy tribunal at Exeter Magistrates Court, today.

See Express & Echo article here - 
Home of East Devon District Council in Sidmouth put up for sale | Exeter Express and Echo


1. At 12:40 pm on 29th Aug Paul wrote:

“Not having made a decision” was a key reason for not providing information to Jeremy Woodward’s FoI request. So, does putting the Knowle on sale now indicate that “a decision has been made to relocate”?

2. At 01:41 pm on 29th Aug Sandra Semple wrote:

Panic sale?

3. At 02:17 pm on 29th Aug John Richards wrote:

Thank goodness for that at last something positive for good old Sidmouth, New buildings = more residents = more jobs and most of all, more retail opportunities for local business in the town and tradesmen, suppliers and all that goes with an increased population. Good to see that the park is retained although when I have gone past not many seem to use it.

4. At 05:36 pm on 29th Aug Sandra Semple wrote:

Number of new residents? Maybe a hundred, many of them older people using stretched out services (and I’m old so not biased). Jobs lost 400 plus - many young professionals. Is it really a good deal?

Knowle goes on sale as arguments unfold at secrecy hearing - Claire Wright

For background information see:
Re. Knowle officially for sale | East Devon Alliance
Knowle relocation costs: We have not been properly informed, says EDDC Committee | Save Our Sidmouth
No light cast on Knowle at last night’s Cabinet meeting | Save Our Sidmouth

See also today's Herald:
Knowle is up for sale as EDDC eyes move - News - Sidmouth Herald

This is the press release from the District Council:

Council’s Knowle HQ is marketed for potential development

Friday 29 August

Agents have started to actively market East Devon District Council’s Knowle headquarters at Sidmouth as a potential development site. This is a key part of the project to move staff to modern offices in a new location. Savills, a real estate services company with offices worldwide, formally began marketing Knowle – along with the Manstone Depot site – this weekend (28 August). The closing date for informal tenders on both sites is 22 October.

Below is the press release issued yesterday (Thursday) by Savills www.savills.co.uk

Prime redevelopment opportunity in the popular coastal town of Sidmouth comes to the market

A well-known, exceptional redevelopment site in the popular coastal town of Sidmouth is coming to the market as a result of East Devon District Council’s decision to relocate to new offices. The site, known as Knowle, 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 Knowle site represents an extremely rare opportunity to acquire an exceptional redevelopment location within a stunning parkland setting in the desirable and affluent town of Sidmouth.

Sidmouth is adjacent to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and forms part of the protected Jurassic Coastline. Knowle is prominently located to the north west of the town centre and the topography of the site means that much of it benefits from southerly sea views. The property, in the development area, is not listed and is not within a Conservation Area.

Knowle is within the built up boundary of Sidmouth and 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. The Council expects to be in a position to grant vacant possession by May 2017.

The Council will be advocating a high quality form of development commensurate with the natural beauty of the site. It would like 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, adds: “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, states that: “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 its 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.

Leader of the Council Paul Diviani adds: “The Knowle has been home to the Council for over 40 years but now we need to move. We believe the sale of both of these sites will provide value for Council Tax payers and the proposed relocation to new premises will enable the District Council to move with the times and provide outstanding services from a much better, more efficient building”.

The Knowle and Manstone Depot are available for sale independently or in combination.

The sites are being offered for sale by informal tender and the deadline for submission of offers is Wednesday 22nd October 2014.

All viewings are through sole selling agent, Savills. For further information, please contact Nick Jones on 01392 455712 / njones@savills.com or Mark Chugg on 01392 455 715 / mchugg@savills.com

East Devon District Council - News

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