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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Knowle relocation project: "No council would want to merge with one that is going to take out a big loan for its own new headquarters."

There are interesting measures afoot for devolution in Devon:

Councils to merge

By Roger Williams in Community News
VIDEO: South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council consider merger.
Read the Dartmouth Chronicle this Friday.


Councils to merge | News | South Hams Gazette

This was actually considered back in 2010
THE merger of South Hams and West Devon councils into a single super council is a serious option for the future, councillors have been warned. | Plymouth Herald

With the full story on the latest moves:
Average £63 council tax hike for some Devon residents as councils plan to merge | Devon Live

As the East Devon Watch blog notes:

Owl says: presumably this is not an option open to East Devon District Council, as no council would want to merge with one that is going to take out a big loan for its own new headquarters.

South Hams and West Devon district councils consider merger | East Devon Watch

And it is indeed very much about buildings:

Council’s Follaton future is uncertain

By Steve Peacock in Business
Totnes could be abandoned as a district council headquarters if the proposed merger between South Hams and West Devon councils goes ahead, town councillors have been warned.
Follaton House has been a council HQ for more than 50 years, as the old Totnes Rural District Council offices and then the home of South Hams District Council following the 1974 local government changes.
But following a merger, the headquarters of a joint council will likely end up somewhere near Plymouth, town councillors were told last week.
Reporting back on a meeting involving local town parish council mayors and chairmen, plus district council officers and leading councillors, town clerk Catherine Marlton told councillors that the controversial merger had been one of the main topics under discussion.
“One question was where the headquarters for the enlarged council would be. It would not be Follaton House and it would not be Kilworthy (Kilworthy Park in Tavistock is West Devon Borough Council’s HQ). It is likely to be somewhere near Plymouth,” she said.
And she also warned that a merger would mean “significant” council tax rises for South Hams householders.
But she pointed out the meeting had been warned that a standalone district council was “unsustainable” over five years.
An 18th century former mansion house set in its own grounds, Follaton House is now only partly used by the district council after it shed scores of staff in a major shake up two years ago. Office space is currently rented out to Public Health England, Devon County Council, Citizens Advice and the Community Volunteers Service.
South Hams said this week it will run out of money in three years time if the council does not raise average council tax bills in the wake of the possible merger with West Devon.

Council’s Follaton future is uncertain | News | Totnes Times
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