Ahead of next week’s Full Council meeting, when Councillors will be asked to agree to the purchase of land at Skypark for a new Head Office to be built, this letter has been sent to all EDDC Councillors. It comes with full details of why the Knowle relocation is unsound, in the accompanying attachment (See link given below, SOS to EDDC Councillors):
I would ask for a moment of your time to read this email and the enclosure as it relates to the one of the most important decisions that you will soon have to make. Your decision will affect the District for as long as it is in existence.
You have a full council meeting on the 26th February at which you will asked to approve the Cabinet decision to move to Skypark in the extreme west of the District.
I believe that you ought to consider the underlying assumptions and the effects of moving most carefully, for, as you know any decisions that you make, you will be accountable for as Councillors.
EDDC made the decision to move away from Knowle without a full investigation of all the options. It is clear that the choice to move was made on emotional grounds rather than on merit and without a full understanding of the fundamental considerations.. This is outlined on the attachment. Do please read it.
Cabinet has now created further complications by deciding to move to Skypark. This they have done on no financial or other grounds that have been disclosed . The only costs or considerations given in the minutes of the Cabinet meeting are that the cost of the site at Skypark will cost £1m exc VAT.
Leaving aside for one moment that we believe that the planned move from the Knowle should not go ahead as it is financially flawed, exceptionally risky in these difficult economic times and detrimental to employees and the town of Sidmouth, we fail to understand any rationale for the choice of Skypark..
It is not a “central” location as been one of the asserted objectives of the Council,
It has no supporting infrastructure for the convenience of staff or the public.
The location came last, (21%) as a choice of location, for staff polled recently by EDDC,
It will create great difficulties for travelling for EDDC staff from their current residential locations,
There is a great danger that, over a period of time the location will attract employees resident in Exeter and westwards, to the detriment of District residents currently employed.
The decision belies common sense. There is absolutely NO rationale for incurring costs of perhaps £15m at this time, even though the sale of “family silver” might raise sufficient sums to fund the move.
You, as Councillors responsible for the financial and economic well being of the District, should take a long hard look at the costs and reasons for the move and its destination. If you feel that you cannot vote against the motion for party reasons, you should at least consider abstaining.
Chair SVA Conservation and Planning
Click here for “a long hard look” at the relocation plan, costs, and repercussions : SOS to EDDCCouncillors (Feb 2 2014)
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