Futures Forum: District Council: annual meeting >>> Wednesday 27th May
During public questions, issues were raised over the Knowle relocation project:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: "There are some important questions to be answered."
Tomorrow evening, there will be a further, extraordinary meeting to discuss the project:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: extraordinary District Council meeting >>> Wednesday 3rd June
Meanwhile, there has been some lively discussion on-line:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: extraordinary District Council meeting >>> Wednesday 3rd June >>> conversation on Streetlife
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: extraordinary District Council meeting >>> Wednesday 3rd June >>> conversation on Streetlife continues...
Other media have been showing interest:
Crunch time in Sidmouth as East Devon prepares for the big debate over future of the Knowle
By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: June 02, 2015
Speaking ahead of the Extraordinary meeting on Wednesday night (June 3) East Devon District Councillor (EDDC) Cathy Gardner said the issue was all about process.
The meeting has been called by the new councillors to debate the office relocation from Knowle in Sidmouth to a new site in Exmouth and they plan to vote on a motion to suspend the proposed move for six months.
Cllr Gardner said: “This is all about process and the extraordinary levels of secrecy that have been applied to the project. The consequences of that are really that hardly any elected members now have had access to any of the information on the project. Decisions have been made by members but without the full facts being made known to them.”
Councillor Paul Diviani said: “While I am mindful of the fact that full council debated and approved the council’s relocation back in March and that internal and external stakeholders gave the proposed move a clean bill of health, this issue needs to be debated as quickly as possible, in order that the council can move forward and embrace modern working practices, which will reduce operating costs and prove an investment for the future.”
The new East Devon Alliance councillors together with the other independents and Lib Dem councillors are unhappy at the way the council has gone about planning to move the offices from Sidmouth to Exmouth. A Freedom of Information request revealed a large amount of money had been spent on legal fees while a tribunal criticised the council for the way it had behaved.
The meeting, which will be open to the public, will take place at Knowle, Sidmouth on Wednesday 3 June at 6.30pm.
East Devon Council publish historical Knowle relocation documents
Crunch time in Sidmouth as East Devon prepares for the big debate over future of the Knowle | Exeter Express and Echo
HONITON: Council relocation: ‘No more delays’
2nd June 2015 by Jack Dixon firstname.lastname@example.org
BUSINESS leaders in Honiton have called for an end to the uncertainty over East Devon District Council’s office relocation, with further delays now threatening to de-rail the project.
Councillors will meet to debate the matter once again this week, after 15 newly-elected independents called for a six-month suspension of the scheme.
The latest developments have angered local businesses, who believe moving the district council’s headquarters to Honiton will bring a major economic boost to the town centre. They say now is the time to put the debate to bed and “move forward” with the project.
EDDC finally signed off the deal in March, after years of planning and deliberation. Its current land at Knowle, in Sidmouth, looks set to be sold off, with the council offices relocated to Honiton’s Heathpark estate by May 2017.
But the band of independent councillors – five of whom were elected in Sidmouth earlier this month – are still fighting the move, even at this late stage. They are pushing to suspend the sale of Knowle for six months so the plans can be examined further.
Ahead of this week’s crucial meeting, Colin Wright, chairman of the Honiton Chamber of Commerce, said he was “very disappointed” by councillors’ attempts to suspend the project. How many times are we going to have this debate?” he told Pulman’s View. “This is a pro-business move that makes sense for the council, makes sense for Honiton and is in the interests of the rest of East Devon.
“The longer this drags on, the longer Honiton’s town centre traders will have to wait. The right decision has been made and everyone is feeling positive. Let’s move forward with the project and make sure it happens for Honiton.”
But independent East Devon Alliance councillor Cathy Gardner, who represents the Sidmouth Town ward on EDDC, said she was still “extremely concerned” about the process. She and 14 other independents are calling for a six-month suspension, so further consultation and scrutiny of relocation costs can be carried out.
They also say more time is needed to consider the outcome of the council’s recent tribunal hearing, following which previously unseen reports about the project are soon to be released.
Councillor Gardner said: “This is not about Sidmouth – the way the project has been run and the risk of creating a debt for council taxpayers affects all residents of East Devon. All residents of Honiton should be concerned about the way the council is operating on their behalf.
“If the offices were already in Honiton and were moving to Sidmouth, I am sure Honiton ward members would feel obliged to raise the same questions and concerns – and I would want them to be aired and answered as fully as possible by those in the know at EDDC.”
EDDC leader Paul Diviani said last week: “We have already consulted with our staff, but we are happy to debate the relocation in further detail at the request of councillors who have been elected on this single issue, which was part of their manifesto commitment. Our ultimate intention is to provide the best solution for the people of East Devon and our staff.”
HONITON: Council relocation: 'No more delays' - View from Sidmouth .