Richard Thurlow, who Chaired Save Our Sidmouth from the beginning, and is currently Chair of the Sid Vale Association’s Environment and Planning Committee, gave this speech to Full Council last night. He received no response to the issues he raised. Along with those of other speakers, they were neatly brushed under the carpet by the Mark Williams. Although all wrapped up in time for Christmas, so to say, these issues will inevitably be reopened and on view throughout the New Year.
This is what Richard Thurlow said:
” The first cost estimate for Exmouth Town Hall (ETH) in March 2015 was £0.96m. The report to council said “The proposal to refurbish ETH has been tested and supported by independent analysis”!!
The second cost estimate was £ 1.261m
The latest cost is £1.669m.
Thus in 18months the cost has risen by about £700k, a rise of 70% over the original estimate, and it is now more than the cost for the refurbishment of the Knowle which was £1.566m
To the estimate of £1.669m must be added, fitting out, moving costs, staff reimbursement for travel and inconvenience, ( for three years), etc, probably nearer £2m.
Your Deputy Chief Executive has persuaded Cabinet to underwrite a spend of £1.669m without adequate rationale; there are NO reasons given in his Report other than a wish to occupy ETH more quickly; no economic breakdown, no total cost, no assessments of the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal which would have enabled you to base your decision on facts.
The project is out of control.
I say this based on my experience over 40 years on projects worldwide in a major Building and Civil Engineering Consultancy. I have seen a few dodgy projects in that time and this is one of them!
If you support the proposal, I have to say that this will come back to haunt you!