Anger at closure of housing office

10:34 29 May 2014

Exmouth Town Hall.

Exmouth Town Hall.


Exmouth’s emergency housing office has been closed for the past week owing to ‘significant’ fears for the safety of council workers.

Early last week two police officers armed with a Taser sectioned a visitor to the district council’s housing needs team, based at Exmouth Town Hall, as shocked reception staff looked on.

Following the incident a decision was taken on Thursday to close the office to the public.

One week on, during which a safety review was held, the drop-in sessions are due to resume today (Thursday).

But the week-long closure has been blasted by town clerk Colin Poole, who said his staff had been left to face the anger of homeless residents who turned up to the town hall to find the service had been withdrawn.

In an email to the district council’s housing department, Mr Poole said the town council had not been consulted.

He confirmed that two police officers had visited the town hall, equipped with a Taser, because of somebody seeking help.

He wrote: “My staff found themselves in the middle of an incident which was pre-arranged without consultation by your department to take place in our workspace.

“Luckily the incident went off without the fuss your department anticipated.”

He added: “I suppose you simply expect the town council staff to deal with the fallout from this, without any consultation by you, before closing the busiest service in East Devon?”

Mr Poole said it was his staff who on a daily basis ‘faced the initial anger of your clients, comfort those in tears and are there to give your staff back-up if there are any concerns over safety’.

He said that he had changed the sign so his staff did not ‘have to take the flak for [East Devon District Council’s] decision’.

John Golding, head of housing, replied: “We have two very shaken and upset staff following this incident that we have a duty of care towards. I understand that you rightly have similar concerns about your town hall staff.

“Please be assured that we are working to reinstate the service as quickly as possible, and I apologise for any inconvenience this action has caused.”

A spokesman for EDDC said: “This incident highlighted the fact that there were shortcomings in the physical layout of the area set aside for drop-in sessions and that this potentially made staff vulnerable.

“We recognise that the communication aspect of this decision could have been handled better and we will learn from that awareness.

“We have apologised to [the] Exmouth town clerk and his staff for the impact that this unavoidable course of action had on them.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Exmouth Journal visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Exmouth Journal staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Exmouth Journal account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 12:30

An Exmouth grandfather, who died last month, has been remembered as a quality house builder, a top class sailor and ‘a very popular man’.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30

A piece of Exmouth town centre will be turning purple to help the fight to eradicate one of the world’s deadliest diseases.

Read more
Fri, 15:17

Police say they are treating the semi-naked woman shown in a photograph with an Exmouth dinosaur trail model as a victim, because the image was ‘unlawfully accessed’ and shared without permission.

Read more
Fri, 12:30

Television cameras have caught the moment an Exmouth man returned to the armed forces life 10 years after he was discharged.

Read more
Fri, 10:00

Exmouth Police Station is to stay in its current location for the foreseeable feature, after plans for its replacement were delayed.

Read more
Fri, 06:30

Detectives at Exmouth are appealing for information after a home in Budleigh Salterton was burgled and jewellery stolen.

Read more
Thu, 12:30

Exmouth in Bloom has achieved silver gilt status in the national Britain in Bloom competition.

Read more
Thu, 11:30

There’s just a few days to go to Exmouth Means Business – the one-day networking event, aimed at businesses from Exmouth, East Devon and Exeter.

Read more
Thu, 10:05

Now that the ‘September Scramble’ at the start of the new school year is out of the way, here’s something to look forward to for parents and grandparents - Budleigh Big Band Night with AJ’s on Friday, November 4.

Read more
Thu, 09:51

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in Exmouth went down in the month of September, figures have shown.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 7°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Photo Orders
Family notices
Google Plus
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder


Show Job Lists

Find planning applications