East Devon staff move to Exmouth?
PUBLISHED: 12:34 23 March 2011
THE chairman of an influential community group says that some East Devon staff should be permanently relocated to Exmouth - if the council's Sidmouth HQ is sold.
THE chairman of an influential community group says that some East Devon staff should be permanently relocated to Exmouth - if the council’s Sidmouth HQ is sold.
Chairman of the Exmouth Community Association, Roy Pryke, said at the Annual Town Meeting this week that if the cash-strapped district council sell off their Knowle HQ, a former hotel, staff charged with the western end of the district should be based in the town hall.
This could include planners, benefits officers and members of Street Scene charged with Exmouth, Budleigh and the surrounding villages.
Mr Pryke said: “Something like a third of the money in East Devon comes from Exmouth and we need East Devon District Council to recognise that – and that will be part of the community plan.”
At a full council meeting, district council leader, Sarah Randall Johnson, said: “We’ll be seriously looking at the future of us staying in this building for numerous reasons.”
She said a move to a more open space office would break down the council’s “silo mentality” and save tax-payers cash.
Councillor Randall Johnson labelled Knowle as “an antiquated building that costs a fortune to heat and run.”
Members held behind closed door talks over the possibility of moving away from the prestigious Sidmouth base, in a bid to make “substantial savings.”
Executive board members looked at several scenarios and figures relating to the use of the council offices.
EDDC chief executive Mark Williams said at the time: “The council, like any responsible private or public sector organisation – routinely checks the value of its assets and assesses whether its premises best suit operational needs.
He added: “Such a move is entirely dependent on finding alternative premises that could either be built or adapted at a cost that would make it economically sensible to vacate the building.
“Given current market values and the likely cost of relocation, it would be a close run thing as to whether a move was viable.”