Monday, 28 October 2013

Knowle: relocation... costs of borrowing......................? Another presentation to be given to 'stakeholders'................. And another ‘confidential briefing for councillors’

The District Council has invited 'stakeholders' to a further meeting to consider its relocation proposals. This is to be held on Friday 8th at 2.30 at the Flybe Academy near the airport.

In July at a similar meeting, the Deputy CEO gave a presentation on "EDDC New Office Project" to 'stakeholders':
at which he stated:
"The option to move would use capital receipts from the sale of the Knowle and, if required, prudential borrowing up to a maximum of £4.8M"

The Sidmouth Independent News blog has highlighted the point made in a speech given to the full District Council last week
Futures Forum: Knowle: relocation... costs of borrowing...?
that there seems to be 'collective amnesia' with regards to this figure: 
EDDC Conservative councillors have collective amnesia about £4.8m loan | Sidmouth Independent News
Collective amnesia (2) | Sidmouth Independent News
Councillor amnesia (3) | Sidmouth Independent News

The independent District Councillor Claire Wright spoke at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting last week on the subject: 

Councillors deny £4.8m loan is needed for office move

comments (2)

Complications relating to the chief officer availability and insistences that the office move was not being largely conducted in secret, were defences made yesterday evening, for not bringing the subject to the overview and scrutiny committee earlier than January.
I raised the issue under the forward plan once again at last night’s overview and scrutiny meeting and asked that the office move be brought forward for scrutiny next month instead. I highlighted the question of Barry Sangster at Wednesday night’s full council meeting re the £4.8m loan, and said it was a scheme of significant financial risk that needed urgent examination.
But several conservative councillors said that there was no truth in the statement relating to an £4.8m loan.
Cllr Ray Bloxham said he had never heard of that figure. 
Cllr Tom Wright said plans to move offices had not been conducted in secret and referred to the stakeholder event held earlier this year.
He urged councillors to attend a briefing next week about it (before the cabinet meeting), which he thought would be very informative.  (The briefing, is of course, confidential!)
Cllr Peter Halse agreed that he did not recognise the figure mentioned by Mr Sangster.
Cllr David Cox (finance portfolio holder) replied that no decisions had been made about where the council was going and it was “misleading” to suggest £4.5m might have to be borrowed because EDDC may not have to borrow any money at all.
But, if this figure wasn’t recognised by so many councillors, why did no one set the record straight at Wednesday’s full council meeting?
The overview and scrutiny meeting was recorded so the discussion, which took place during the last agenda item - forward plan - will be available here in a few days -http://www.eastdevon.gov.uk/overview_scrutiny_remit_agendas_mins.htm


1. At 10:39 pm on 25th Oct Sandra Semple wrote:
“Chief Officer availability” - could you explain that to me please?
2. At 10:51 pm on 25th Oct Conrad Black wrote:
Oh dear.  It would appear that either a number of Councillors are suffering from terminological inexactitude.  If so many Councillors are unable to recall accurately published statements then you might have to come to the conclusion that they should become subject to the Office of the Public Guardian because they are not capable of administering their own affairs, let alone those of the Council Tax payers of East Devon.
The process of Judicial Review was introduced to counteract the idea that supporting a flawed document and policy somehow made it correct.  When, I wonder, will our elected and supposed representatives wake up to the fact that trying to blag your way out of the ordure merely leaves you further in it. 
Given the huge sums of money currently being wasted by the EDDC now, I wonder how many Councillors have added up what the surcharge might be if they are found to have behaved improperly?
Claire Wright - Your Independent East Devon District Councillor for Ottery Rural

There will be "a ‘confidential briefing for councillors’, 4pm this Wednesday, 30 October."  
Knowle relocation again to be discussed behind closed doors | Sidmouth Independent News

The East Devon Alliance is to hold a demonstration outside the entrance to the District Council's Chamber at 3.30pm, in protest at the secrecy surrounding these meetings...
The media have been alerted.
Confidential briefing for Councillors regarding Knowle relocation | Save Our Sidmouth

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