The meeting was held last Friday, at the Flybe office at Exeter Airport.
All EDDC Cabinet attended, plus senior officers. There were representatives from Parish and Town Councils and Chambers of Commerce, plus selected organisations termed ‘stakeholders’, including Save our Sidmouth, East Devon Alliance, Vision for Sidmouth’s Futures Forum, Knowle Residents’ Association and others.
Deputy Chief Executive,Richard Cohen, presented the case for moving. Leader,Paul Diviani, supported him. Options include Cranbrook, Honiton, (2), or possibly Sky Park
Questions followed the presentation. One was from Kelvin Dent, newly elected Sidmouth Town Councillor. As Councillor Diviani had mentioned, for the second time, that relocation would have an impact on the economy of Sidmouth and that steps would be taken to try to mitigate the effect, Councillor Dent asked what those steps would be, bearing in mind the loss of nearly 100 jobs over 10 years and £4.5million of contracts and spend in Sidmouth. He did not receive an answer, but the question was minuted, and will presumably be addressed in due course.
Then several discussion groups were formed, to consider four questions ( quoted verbatim here):
- The services received, by residents and organisation; will they change when the office is relocated and could this impact on the organisation and/or people I represent?
- The way in which my colleagues and I work with or communicate with the council; how might that change?
- What other statutory provisions, government regulations or business activities and financial arrangements, (for example), that you are involved with do you think might be affected?
- What concerns, risk or opportunities do you perceive there to be, which would impact on the community that you represent, and it wellbeing(sic). vibrancy or economic effectiveness, or similar
Answers ranged from having a new large multi purpose council chamber to shared services with Exeter City Council ( and new methods of working using IT).
(SOS has of course already given its strong views on question 4 . See EDDC Cabinet to look at options for Knowle relocation…But is relocation itself an option? posted 16th July on this website.) .
SOS Chair, Richard Thurlow, commented, “It is clear that Honiton, (through the Chamber of Commerce) is very keen on getting EDDC in the town and is already planning for it (with bus services from the station ,etc…).”
“Not much will come of this or subsequent meetings”, he continued. “It was purely a public relations exercise.”
The SIN blog has a more detailed report of the meeting, From our correspondent “Fly Me”, posted 26th July at http://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com