Friday, 2 January 2015

Knowle relocation project: "a thorough examination of all facts and figures in respect of the relocation"

The District Council decided last month to move to Honiton and Exmouth:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: volte face: the District Council will not be moving to Skypark: "Development at Knowle and changes to destination to be considered by cabinet"

And yet only some weeks before that, the Heathpark site in Honiton was up for sale:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: “We are committed to exploring all options for a possible new office site as well as maximising the values from our landholdings. One option has always been the sale of our Heathpark site alongside that of Knowle and Manstone Depot in Sidmouth and to use the money raised for a new, more efficient and modern headquarters”

However, there have always been 'issues' around Heathpark;
Futures Forum: The future of Heathpark: a conflagration of issues...

... and with the latest decision to relocate to Honiton and Exmouth, these and other issues have come under the spotlight:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: comparing the Sidmouth and Honiton/Exmouth options

But the District Council's leadership insist they don't want to stay in Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: EDDC Office Accommodation – key decision

Trying to get to the bottom of how these decisions have been arrived at has not been easy 
- as shown on this blog:
Futures Forum: knowle

A document has recently been unearthed on-line: in fact it provides a lot of information, but requires a fair amount of ploughing through as the layout and labelling of documents are not always clear - and considerable background knowledge is also needed:

The impression when looking through documentation such as this is of a very closed conversation between a very small number of people. 

These documents are not meant to inform debate:
Futures Forum: Managed democracy: "The deliberate undermining of people's perception of the world, by creating confusion and contradiction ... undermining any opposition to existing power structures ... which leaves us feeling helpless and depressed and to which the only response is: 'Oh dear'."

But what is clear is that four if not five years ago, the District Council's political leadership was considering in quite some detail plans to move from Knowle, Sidmouth to Heathpark, Honiton and the former Exmouth Town Hall:
Plan B was Plan A until Plan Zero became Plan A which then … | East Devon Alliance

However, the figures, calculations and most of the statistical evidence used to support the original scheme remain blanked out:

Several new FOI requests have been submitted asking for these figures to be redacted, further documentation to be published and full explanations to be given - about the detailed plans devised 2008-2011:
New Year, new Freedom of Information requests | East Devon Alliance

Councillors have now resolved that 
> "a thorough examination of all facts and figures in respect of the relocation be carried out" 
by way of the various 'checks and balances' of the committees at the District Council:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: 'checks and balances': the SWAP

Nevertheless, the question remains to what extent the leadership of the District Council will be open to any such 'thorough examination':
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'

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