District HQ could move to Exmouth and Honiton by 2014
A move to Exmouth and a new purpose-built HQ in Honiton by the district council could happen within three years.
And the final decision could depend on whether ‘the right price’ is offered for the existing HQ at The Knowle, Sidmouth.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) say they are giving ‘serious consideration’ to moving from Sidmouth to a new purpose-built office block on the council’s former waste disposal site in Heathpark Honiton, with staff also working at Exmouth’s town hall.
EDDC’s principal estates surveyor Donna Best says the move would save the expense of purchasing land.
The council say the aim is also to provide ‘a better service for residents’ in a more central location.
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Exmouth councillors and residents have long complained that the EDDC’s Knowle powerbase should be in Exmouth, Devon’s largest town.
Since the early 1970s and the dissolution of the old Exmouth Urban District council there has been the perception that the smaller communities in and around Sidmouth in the eastern side of the district have been ‘favoured.’
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Council bosses also say that the move would be ‘cost neutral’, slash overheads, create a smaller carbon footprint and be closer the new community of Cranbrook.
The council say they will carefully ensure that The Knowle is sold ‘for the most suitable type of redevelopment.’
Councillor Paul Diviani, EDDC’s leader, said: “EDDC is committed to modern working practices fit for the 21st Century; we need to find alternatives for our current premises, which are not suitable for the efficient delivery of the high quality services we and our residents expect to see.
“We are in the process of completely overhauling the way we work and this is one strand of that work.
“The main thrust is our administration needs to be more centrally located, and we will be looking to deliver many of our services more locally.
“Obvious examples of that are Honiton, with its central location and excellent transport infrastructure, and Exmouth, Devon’s largest town.”