EDDC Cabinet is scheduled to receive an update report in our meeting on Wed 3rd December. The key conclusions are that whilst the principal of moving from The Knowle in Sidmouth still makes “financial and operational sense on a whole life cost basis”, the move to Skypark is not a viable option.
This update recognises the reduced offers for the Heathpark site, the Knowle site values and ‘prudent borrowing’. The East Devon Business Centre in Honiton can now be retained and incorporated in a much reduced new headquarters building in Honiton
Devon County Council has vacated the Exmouth Town Hall. This means that EDDC could move into part of this building to provide a significant presence in what is East Devons largest town.
The retailed recommendations are below. The Cabinet meeting will start at 5.30pm. A full report on the future of the proposed relocation can be seen on pages 37 to 58 of the Agenda at http://new.eastdevon.gov.uk/media/526937/031214-cabinet-agenda-public-version.pdf
Whilst I have not been involved in the Office Relocation project since May 2013, I am pleased, in the interest of those I represent and from a parochial point of view as Economy Portfolio Holder and Ward Member, that the proposed new head office will not be any further away from Trinity than The Knowle is at Sidmouth and that the Honiton Business Centre can be retained.
Detailed recommendations of the report to be presented are to note progress since the last report in June 2014.
“It is recognised that the scope of the relocation project has changed
a. The marketing exercise for Knowle and Manstone has resulted in a range of offers and, following a detailed assessment process, we have received price, form and quality of development propositions that merit further detailed negotiation toward selection of a preferred developer.
b. Leading offers for Knowle do not include options to sell Manstone in which case EDDC can choose to retain Manstone for the foreseeable future as a depot function and continued employment use.
c. The reduced offer for EDDC’s Heathpark site no longer represents a sufficiently persuasive level of capital receipt and will not be pursued further.
d. The retention of Heathpark in EDDC ownership means that this now represents the most cost effective and straightforward location to develop a new headquarters building for the Council.
e. Relocation to Skypark is no longer a viable proposition based on the reduced offer for Heathpark and combination of Knowle market value and prudential borrowing.
f. The East Devon Business Centre (EDBC) should preferably be retained and could potentially be combined within a new EDDC HQ development.
g. In the interim, Exmouth Town Hall has been vacated by Devon County Council Services and represents a new opportunity within the relocation plan.
h. A new HQ in Honiton can be restricted in size and cost to a 170 desk equivalent scale with an improved Exmouth Town Hall for 80 EDDC staff as a main satellite office in the District’s largest community.
i. As part of its commitment to more mobile working and accessibility, the Council will offer a service presence as customers require in future at locations elsewhere in the District.
j. That relocation continues to make financial and operational sense on a whole life cost basis, specifically 20 yr. projections combining capital receipt and repayment of prudential borrowing versus existing office running cost and unfunded expenditure on existing building repair, maintenance and improvement.
3. Authorise the Deputy Chief Executive (Development, Regeneration and Partnership) in consultation with the Office Accommodation Executive Group to take forward further actions in pursuit of the above recommendations and Project Plan
4. Agree that further reports are produced for Cabinet and Council on project progress and to seek formal approval for any disposal of Knowle.”