Exmouth Town Hall work set to go ahead

PUBLISHED: 12:30 27 December 2016

Exmouth Town Hall.

Exmouth Town Hall.

Archant

District council staff could relocate to Exmouth Town Hall as early as November 2017, after cabinet members agreed to proceed with refurbishment work.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) plans to relocate from its current Knowle headquarters, dividing its offices between the town hall and a new building at Honiton’s Heathpark.

The plan was that funds from the sale of Knowle would pay for required upgrades at the town hall, which is owned by EDDC.

However, after EDDC’s development management committee rejected a planning application by developer Pegasus Life for the Knowle site, it was proposed to the cabinet that the council go ahead with the town hall plan now, with the Knowle sale potentially delayed by several months.

Tenants including Exmouth Town Council have already moved out.

The cabinet was also told that the estimated cost had risen from £1,260,559 to £1,669,000.

Backing the proposal to go ahead, Councillor Jill Elson said: “I welcome this. I have argued for about six years that we should have a base within Exmouth, mainly because it is our largest town, but also, as including the surrounding area, it has roughly 40 per cent of our residents.

Councillors were told that the town hall would have needed refurbishment even if EDDC was not planning to move in, with requirements including asbestos removal.

Addressing the cabinet, Councillor Cathy Gardner did raise concerns about the increasing cost, and said: “I’m more than slightly concerned cabinet might be happy to approve this project to go ahead on its own without having a full and up-to-date budget for the relocation.”

Also addressing the cabinet, Councillor Steve Gazzard said: “I fully support the move to Exmouth. I am concerned about the increasing cost, but I fully appreciate now the building is empty we have been able to get people in and see where the actual problems are.”

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