It seems that consultants are able to offer sound advice:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: 'Developers looking to get the most out of their stock in difficult economic conditions are increasingly turning to refurbishment rather than redevelopment. Davis Langdon look at the cost implications'
However, the District Council might not wish to accept any particular piece of advice - which it has paid dearly for.
Back in 2008, the Council asked its then-consultants on the relocation project, Alder King, to look into one of its most important assets:
The report was not quite what the District Council had in mind:
Fortunately for the District Council, as the same review went on to say, there were other moves afoot - besides the pending disaster of unitary authority status...
This was four and a half years ago - when the County Council first mooted a move from Exmouth and the District Council first eyed up its Heathpark site.
However, 'a more creative approach to planning options on the Knowle site' should overcome any 'net cost to the Council' - as shown in this (heavily redacted) review: