Save Our Sidmouth

Letter to Hugo Swire, MP, re. voicing shared concerns about Knowle relocation

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Save our Sidmouth representatives have today followed up, with the following letter, an agreement made at a meeting with their local Member of Parliament:

10th February 2014

Your Ref: HS 184718

Dear Mr Swire,

In November last year, you kindly met Richard Thurlow and myself. We explained our concerns about the proposal by East Devon District Council to relocate their HQ from the Knowle in Sidmouth to an unidentified location elsewhere. You agreed to raise our concerns, and the concerns which you had yourself, with the Council and we agreed a press release to that effect which was duly published.

At a meeting of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 30th January it was resolved to commission an independent survey of the condition of the existing building. That represented an encouraging development because a widespread belief exists that the condition of the offices is not as poor as the Council claims and the newer buildings could be improved at a reasonable expense.

On 6th February, however, in a meeting which was closed to the public, the Council’s cabinet decided on a move to Sky Park. This decision will be debated by the full Council on 26th February.

I really feel, if you have not yet had an opportunity to discuss your concerns with the Council, that now is the time. Moving to Sky Park would mean reneging on the following undertakings by the Council.

1. That a new site would be more central and convenient for the residents of East Devon. (It isn’t, it’s on the extreme West of the District)

2. That jobs lost to Sidmouth would be taken up by other residents of East Devon (They won’t be, they’ll go to residents of Exeter)

3. That relocation would be cost neutral (It won’t be. An estimated £500,000 has been wasted so far, the Council has allocated a further £400,000 towards relocation and they propose to borrow up to £4.8 million to achieve the move.)

Please will you use your influence to deflect the Council from this folly? I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

K.R. Dent

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