EDDC to bring power to Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 09:29 28 November 2014 | UPDATED: 09:29 28 November 2014

Exmouth Town Hall.

Exmouth Town Hall.

Archant

Real power could return to Exmouth Town Hall for the first time in more than 40 years.

District chiefs could take over half of the three-floor town hall, with 80 - a third - of their staff working from East Devon’s largest town.

Key district powers, including planning, housing, benefits, council tax and environmental services, could be based in the St Andrew’s Road building.

In 1972, former Prime Minister Ted Heath abolished the old Exmouth Urban District Council.

This, under the influence of the first district council leader Ted Pinney, moved the power base to Sidmouth with the birth of East Devon District Council (EDDC).

Now that power could be coming home - and it’s all part of shock new proposals by EDDC, which wants to move from its Knowle HQ in Sidmouth.

Its current base is an aging former hotel, and energy costs are through the roof, costing taxpayers £83,000 a year.

A two-HQ solution, splitting 250 staff between Heathpark, Honiton, and the empty top floor and half-empty first floor of Exmouth’s town hall, would save cash.

Originally, EDDC wanted to sell Knowle, a depot and Heathpark, site of EDDC’s business centre, to pay for a new, state-of-the-art HQ in the Skypark, next to Cranbrook.

But, in a ‘disappointing’ turn of events, its best potential buyers for Knowle did not want the depot, while supermarket bosses slashed their offer for Heathpark.

So now the council is looking at a ‘Plan B’. An EDDC spokesman said: “A combined Honiton and Exmouth office base offers a more flexible approach...a smaller headquarters and an accessible presence around the district offer a better proposition for our customers.”

The cabinet will discuss the move on Wednesday, December 3. It will then be considered by full council on Wednesday, December 17.

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