Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Knowle relocation project: spending £11million or more... whilst Councils warn against further cuts

It has been difficult to work out how much the relocation project will cost over the years:
Futures Forum: Knowle: relocation... costs of borrowing...?
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: saving energy costs - and challenging the justification to move
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: comparing the Sidmouth and Honiton/Exmouth options

Whether it has been trying to get information through the FOI process:
Costs of relocating EDDC HQ vs refurbishing Knowle - a Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council - WhatDoTheyKnow

Or trying as a Councillor:
Knowle relocation costs: We have not been properly informed, says EDDC Committee | Save Our Sidmouth

The latest figures seem to be around £11 million:

EDDC revised relocation plans ‘to cost £11m’

13:23 16 December 2014 Harvey Gavin

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) proposed move to Honiton and Exmouth is likely to cost around £11million - it was revealed this week.

Authority bosses recently announced they were scrapping plans to relocate to their preferred site of SkyPark in favour of splitting 250 staff between offices at Honiton’s Heathpark site and Exmouth Town Hall.

At a meeting organised by the Sid Vale Association on Tuesday, Councillor Peter Sullivan, who represents the Sidmouth Town ward, updated members of the public on the latest financial details.

He said that the figures, ‘as of Tuesday morning’, estimated the build cost of new offices at the EDDC-owned Heathpark at £7.5million - with ‘internal furbishment costs’ of approximately £2.5million.

He added that the refurbishment of existing offices at Exmouth Town Hall would cost in the region of £900,000. But he said work at the Exmouth offices would be ‘more cost effective’ than an overhaul at Knowle because the town hall had been purpose-built for use as a public building, whereas the current EDDC headquarters was a hotel.

Cllr Sullivan said the council has spent around £500,000 on the relocation project so far. But, he said, this had been factored into the total move cost and would not represent an additional expense once the project was finished.

He added: “For anyone who has ever moved house, you know it costs to move.”

Mr Sullivan said that EDDC had deliberately over-budgeted for the move to the tune of 20 per cent. He added that although the council would still need to borrow money to finance the move, the latest figures showed that the council would start seeing a return on their outlay after 10 years.

He said: “Looking at the costs as they stand at this present time, it is not going to make any difference to the council tax that each one of us pays.” He also revealed there has been a total of 10 offers for Knowle, which had been whittled down to seven ‘actual bids’, including a mixture of residential and care home proposals.

EDDC revised relocation plans ‘to cost £11’ - News - Sidmouth Herald

And yet, immediately after the general election, Councils across the country wrote to the Chancellor saying they don't have the financial resources to handle further cuts:

No more cuts: Tory councils warn Osborne further austerity is 'not an option' as it hits the most vulnerable and damages services

Council bosses warn another round of cuts will seriously damage services
George Osborne was told further austerity measures were 'not an option'
Tory councils linked with Labour and Lib Dem authorities for united front


Tory-run councils have united with Labour and Lib Dem-run local authorities across the country to warn another round of budget cuts are 'not an option.'

Council bosses warned chancellor George Osborne that any more cutbacks could do serious damage to local services and impact on the most vulnerable.

Many local authorities claimed they had already been forced to impose 40 per cent budget cuts since 2010.

In a letter to the Observer, the Tory-controlled Local Government Association (LGA) said: 'Councils have worked hard to shield residents from the impact of funding cuts. However, efficiencies cannot be remade or buildings resold.

'Further local government funding reductions over the next five years are not an option. The new government must consider the consequences that further funding cuts, without radical reform of the way public money is spent, will have on the services which bind our communities together and protect the most vulnerable.'

Council bosses added that services such caring for the elderly, through to bin collections and maintenance of parks would be effected and could even impact on the NHS.

The letter comes after an announcement by Osborne who plans to devolve more powers to English cities, including housing and transport.

Osborne spoke recently of 'cutting income tax to reward work'

Council bosses added that services such caring for the elderly, through to bin collections and maintenance of parks would be effected and could even impact on the NHS (stock pic)

But the LGA warned that councils would need to have to be able to pay for their current services - let alone additional powers.

They added: 'If our public services are to survive the next few years, councils need fairer funding and the freedom to pay for them.

'The public sector has to stop working in silos and join up even more. We need a new settlement for England that devolves decisions about infrastructure, transport, housing, skills and health and social care down to local areas so they can tackle the big issues facing their residents.

Tory councils warn Osborne further austerity is 'not an option' | Daily Mail Online
No more cuts, Tory councils tell George Osborne | Society | The Guardian

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