There was certainly no sign of that intention at last night’s meeting, with the Leadership’s total dismissiveness of the 50 or so ‘customers and stakeholders’ present. Not one of their courteous questions received an answer. (Ron Roberts’ question was published on our website yesterday. More to follow.)
EDDC’s version of last night’s events, which omits to mention the lack of debate from most Councillors who voted, was issued today by the District Council’s Communications and Affairs Manager, Lisa Mansell:
’27 February 2014
Further research into the viability of the council’s office relocation to SkyPark was given the go ahead by full council last night (26 February).
Council officers will now enter a further evaluation and negotiation phase with the preferred option of SkyPark. A report outlining whether the council should commit funding to the new headquarters is expected to be presented to cabinet and full council in July.
Councillor Paul Diviani, leader of East Devon District Council, said:
“Now we have full council’s approval to enter further negotiation with the preferred option of SkyPark we can focus our attention solely on this site.
“SkyPark is firmly on East Devon soil and the location exemplifies the council’s commitment to the Growth Point – this is an exciting emerging employment and commercial development locations in the district which will help East Devon keep its promise to deliver a thriving, competitive local economy with quality jobs.
“As part of the office relocation we will be engaging with customers and stakeholders to ask them what particular services they would like to see provided elsewhere – to a greater degree than they already are if we press the button and decide to move to SkyPark.”
A marketing exercise for Knowle and Manstone will now also get underway, as well as an investigation into options on re-provision of business space to succeed East Devon Business Centre. This follows full council’s decision to offer the council’s Heathpark site for redevelopment.
Capital receipts from Knowle, Manstone and Heathpark will be invested in the new headquarters so that the council keeps its commitment not to place any extra burden on Council Tax payers.
Back in November, cabinet shortlisted five out of 15 possible sites for new office accommodation. These were Cranbrook town centre, SkyPark, two sites on Heathpark in Honiton and Clyst House at Winslade Park. Apart from the two sites in Honiton, all other options were to the west of the district. Cabinet asked for further evaluation of these locations, including site visits, further work with developers and agents, an equality analysis, expert spatial analysis and additional intelligence. In January the Office Accommodation Member Executive Group considered the options – along with the option to stay at Knowle – and the top two scoring locations were presented to cabinet. These were SkyPark and Clyst House, Winslade Park.
Cabinet took the decision on 5 February to go with SkyPark.
If cabinet and full council commit funding to the new headquarters in the summer it is likely that the council would relocate towards the end of 2016.’