Anger at closure of housing office

10:34 29 May 2014

Exmouth Town Hall.

Exmouth Town Hall.

Archant

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staff had been left to face the anger of homeless residents who turned up to the town hall to find the service had been withdrawn.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.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

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

12:30
The entrance to the Owen Building. Ref exe 10-16SH 6921. Picture: Simon Horn

Exmouth residents turned out in force to help those working to save the Rolle College site for the town.

Read more
Former Budleigh Salterton Mayor cllr Courtney Richards. Ref exb 7054-21-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Concerns have been raised about ‘mindless’ motorists who use a popular green space in Budleigh Salterton to park their vehicles.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30
The Morris Minor owners club car show took place at the weekend. John, Susannah, Julie, Samuel and Margaret Dawkins with the family 1968 Morris Minor convertible. Ref exe 34-16AW 4357. Picture: Alex Walton.

A classic car show hit top gear in Exmouth as it raised money for Devon Air Ambulance.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30
Pictured here is Sue Stoneman, trustee of the charity receiving, a cheque from the winning netball team, The Comets.

The Exmouth and District Netball League’s recent tournament to celebrate the competition’s 30th anniversary raised £300 for charity.

Read more
Saturday, August 27, 2016

Firefighters who recently attended a small electrical blaze at a home in Exmouth are urging people to use the correct equipment when charging up mobile phones.

Read more
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Artwork, installed at DJ's Cafe by artists 'Franksy', has now been taken down by the district council

Disappointment has been expressed over the district council’s decision to remove artwork which decorated a boarded-up seafront café.

Read more
Friday, August 26, 2016

Emergency services were called out this morning after a collision involving two cars in Budleigh Salterton.

Read more
Friday, August 26, 2016
Ollie holding his cards next to his mum Karen.

When single mum Karen Jones discovered her autistic son making himself birthday cards because he has no friends, she set upon a crusade – appealing to strangers to make his special day one to remember.

Read more
Friday, August 26, 2016

A plan to demolish two seafront attractions has been given the green light by the district council.

Read more
Thursday, August 25, 2016

A popular Exeter burger bar is coming to Exmouth to take over the kitchen at The Grapevine.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications