Save Our Sidmouth

Knowle and the Local Plan: a brief summary of latest events, with comments.

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Knowle

The Full Council decided on Wednesday24th July  to relocate from the Knowle. The destination is as yet unsure, but it won’t be  Sidmouth. At least one senior EDDC Councillor (notably Councillor Halse) has expressed concern about the financial risk, and it’s all still to play for.
A  meeting was held by EDDC last Friday (26th July) with selected ‘stakeholders’,  to discuss relocation.  Sidmouth Town Councillor Kelvin Dent asked (and this is believed to have been minuted, what steps EDDC intend to take to mitigate the economic impact of relocation (nearly 100 jobs over 10 years and £4.5million a year spend in Sidmouth).

Local Plan

As expected the Council adopted the latest minutes of the Development Management Committee. The allocation of Zones B, C and D for housing at the Knowle remain, as does the Sidford Industrial Estate, despite a vigorous debate. The Plan now goes forward for examination in public by an Inspector towards the end of this year, or beginning of 2014.

Footnote, from a member of Knowle Residents’Association:

The Leader, Councillor Diviani said the EDDC was investigating the possibility of borrowing (approximately) £4,800,000 to fund the move but that it would be at NO COST TO THE COUNCIL TAX PAYER . I wish I could borrow that amount at no cost !! I assume this borrowing would be a bridging  loan to enable construction to commence on their new H.Q and would eventually be repaid from the sale of zones B C and D which are likely  to be developed in stages.

Councillor Peter Halse’s comments clearly indicate that he is concerned about the possible financial risk involved in this strategy.  Councillor Diviani also stated that the project would remain “Cost
Neutral”.

It was mentioned at the Full Council  meeting that considerable  difficulty was encountered by staff during an evacuation of the Knowle following a fire alarm due to corridors being obstructed by
photocopiers. (Surely illegal to obstruct exit routes?). This is a little odd since the EDDC maintain the current  accommodation  is twice the size that is needed so surely the offending machines should have been placed in unused offices?!!

Members of the public were of course unable to comment on this paradox at the meeting, whilst councillors failed to address it.

Reports on the thorny issues of EDDC office relocation, the Local Plan, and this month’s related Council meetings (Cabinet, Development Management Committee, and Full Council) are in recent posts on the SOS website, and the SIN blog http://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com   (e.g From our correspondent “Fly Me” , 26th July)

There is much more to come!

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