Save Our Sidmouth

Letter to Phil Twiss, majority party Chief Whip at East Devon District Council

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Chair of Save Our Sidmouth has been obliged to remind the Chief Whip that there has been no reply to his previous letter. Here is Richard Thurlow’s e-mail, dated 27th October, 2013.

‘Dear Cllr Twiss,

In late September the Sidmouth Herald published a letter of mine, commenting on EDDC’s intentions for the Knowle. (Letter to Herald 1-10-2013 )

You replied to this in your letter published in the same newspaper on the 27th September, casting doubts on our assertions, and I replied to your letter in the Herald on the 4th October, challenging you on several points and asking you to clarify certain issues.

I have awaited your reply since that time. Unfortunately there has been none; I can only assume that you have never seen my letter.

Accordingly I attach it for your attention and would be extremely grateful if you could reply .

The main questions which SOS have are summarised below:

You state that-
“remaining in Knowle is not an option”
“the move is necessary”
“the Knowle buildings are not Fit For Purpose”
None of these statements is supported by any facts; they represent an EDDC predetermined view, to which any evidence is then related.

We challenge you to define” Fitness For Purpose” and then provide real measured evidence as to how the Knowle fails this definition.

You acknowledge that there will be significant job losses in Sidmouth, (90). The 20 jobs he sees as being created were in fact estimated to be created by the provision of a Care Home on the Knowle; which has now been abandoned by EDDC.
In the light of this, perhaps you can tell us where and what these new jobs will be; in any event they will hardly be an adequate replacement for high quality jobs in EDDC offices.

EDDC’s own figures state that local spend by EDDC employees is nearly £1m pa, and that £3.5 m pa accrues to the Sidmouth economy through competitive tendering. Sidmouth will certainly lose the former, and may well lose much of the later, because it will be geographically more remote and therefore costs will be higher.
Please will let us know how these economic losses to Sidmouth will be replaced?

Our detailed calculations, (by a professional) show that the existing “modern” offices, (built by EDDC in 1970 onwards), are nearly sufficient in area to satisfy their need. You dispute our figures.
Please provide the detailed calculation which supports your rejection of our figures.

We know that a 20% Design and Construction contingency has been incorporated, but the existence of Build and Occupation risks has been omitted from the Risk Table.
Perhaps you will say why EDDC are not considering publicly and proactively managing these risks through such a Table|?

Please will let us know why EDDC propose to relocate from the Knowle when their proposals are in direct contravention of Policy E3 in their new Local Plan, which states that “Permission will not be granted for the change of use of current or allocated employment land and premises where it would harm business and employment opportunities in the area”.


Richard Thurlow, Chair SOS’

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