Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Knowle relocation project: "The prudent thing to do is put everything on hold."

East Devon's MP, the Rt Hon Hugo Swire, has issued a statement, carried on the front page of latest Herald out today:

Home - Sidmouth Herald

The main questions are over process - of transparency and calculations:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: saving energy costs - and challenging the justification to move

This comes after last week's District Council considered a motion from independent Cllr Claire Wright proposing the same thing:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: "to be put on hold" .........? District Council meets Wednesday 17th December

But the full council rejected the motion to 'put everything on hold':
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: 'The EDDC Conservative group should have made the need to protect East Devon countryside and the need to deliver an adopted Local Plan its top priority. Instead it has put all its energy and a huge amount of financial resource into building itself new offices'

This is being played out with elections due in May:


Decmeber 20th, 2014

It belatedly appears Hugo Swire has suddenly realised that spending £11m plus on a new HQ is an EDDC Tory folly.

Councillor Troman, who has announced this, though there is yet no confirmation from Mr Swire, now only has to persuade all his other Tory councillors (including those from Sidmouth) to follow suit.

What a pity Mr Swire has not been on board since 2011 when this project was announced (indeed since 2007 when it was apparently first mooted by the Tory majority). And no peep from him as we tried to get access to the figures on the move (culminating in EDDC appearing at Exeter Magistrates Court, dragged there by the Information Commissioner) and nvo help at all when we pointed out the folly of an HQ on Exeter’s doorstep rather than in the middle of his constituency.

However, there is a General Election looming, so U-turns seem to be the order of things now.

But OUR loyalty goes to those brave Independent councillors (particularly Claire Wright, Ben Ingham and Susie Bond) who have pointed out these follies consistently and tried to right the wrong – to the rude and arrogant derision of the majority of Tory councillors.

What a pity they fail to see the stupidity of spending vast amounts of our money on themselves in a time of austerity and at the same time selling our silver. And what a pity it came only hours AFTER the full cabinet endorsed the move. When the announcement could have carried so much more weight if it had been made before the event. Whilst the stable door was still on its hinges, so to speak.

But, the ballot box awaits and we can have our say then – thank goodness!

3 thoughts on “Too late, too late … the nag has gone!”

Tim says:
December 20, 2014 at 10:19 am

So, here we have an M.P. who uses his position to voice comment not at the twelth hour, but so much later.
Can you imagine Claire Wright MP taking so long to get involved? No, nor me.

Mike Temple says:
December 20, 2014 at 10:25 am

Too late but typical – I’m still waiting for his “office to get in touch with” me to “organise a meeting” to view the purpose-built offices and gardens included in the Knowle sale – as he said in a letter to me back in early November.

Sandra Semple says:
December 20, 2014 at 4:18 pm

I have already said on Claire Wright’s blog that I find the current situation mystifying. The Ovierview and Scrutiny Committee demanded access to numbers for relocation in January 2014 (see the minutes of that meeting) – nothing has happened in the last 12 months. The Audit and Governance Committee has already said it won’t examine the numbers because someone from internal audit (SWAP) sits in on meetings as an observer and so they don’t see the need to intervene (as stated in the December Cabinet agenda papers).

The two committees are therefore impotent: one because it cannot get officers to divulge information and one because an officer has told them all is well and they believe him.

And, more importantly, these two committees should have been involved BEFORE Cabinet rushed its decision to full council and not after -to do it this way round us pointless. The Executive and the secret groups will now press on regardless.

Try your best, Mr Troman, but it is my considered opinion that your resolution is utterly meaningless. I think you meant well but you were shafted by your colleagues.

EDDC Tories live in a parallel universe where nothing means what it ought to mean. They may have pulled the wool over Mr Troman’s eyes but they certainly haven’t pulled it over mine.

Too late, too late … the nag has gone! | East Devon Alliance
So does he or doesn’t he …? | East Devon Alliance

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