The new East Devon District Council Blackdown House offices on Heathpark Industrial Estate in Honiton, have now opened to the public.
Council staff and visitors will benefit from the modern working environment they deserve, as the move is completed over a two week period. The Knowle at Sidmouth closed finally on Friday 8th February.
When the The Knowle and Blackdown House are compared, it’s not hard to appreciate that the clean modern, purpose built Blackdown House will cost less to run as a modern building, when compared to the old, drafty and inefficient former hotel Knowle offices in Sidmouth. If it was needed, we were again reminded of that when yet another heating system failure at The Knowle meant our Development Management Committee had to sit in their coats and scarves, to determine the January round of Planning applications.
The design, build, fit out and relocation cost of the move to Blackdown House is £8.7m. This will be recovered through sale receipts from The Knowle, Sidmouth site and savings in running costs into the future. The cost of remaining at The Knowle, in terms of essential maintenance, would have been £4.5m. Relocating to Blackdown House is expected to save £1.4m over 20 years.
East Devon District Council has been working from Knowle since 1974. The building is a former Victorian hotel with a mix of late 70s and 80s office extensions. The Knowle has become increasingly inefficient for modern use and expensive to heat and maintain. The Sidmouth site is being sold to PegasusLife, a company that specialises in building high quality retirement community developments. The extensive remaining parklands have been offered to Sidmouth Town Council, with a contribution toward future maintenance costs. East Devon District Council is reinvesting the sale monies received into the relocation and build costs at Honiton and Exmouth.
In the medium term, it should be wins all round, as The Knowle site is developed by Pegasus to bring additional residents to Sidmouth to further benefit the local economy.
Blackdown House – in a nutshell;
Blackdown House is built in a traditional manner with structural masonry walls, precast floors and stairs, timber trussed and clad roof. The windows and doors are generally double-glazed aluminium. We expect that energy bills will be half those incurred at The Knowle, as the Blackdown House roof has photo voltaic panels. We will use the green electricity for ourselves and feed back into the grid. There are two electric car charging points in the car park and the cabling to install many more as demand rises.
- Total Floor area : 2,760 m2
- Building Height : 17m
- Shared Desks : 216
- Council Chamber for 60 members, with 69 public seats and 40+ overflow on the second floor gallery overlooking th chamber.
- Hearing Loops in reception and meeting rooms, infra-red hearing loop in council chamber
- 112 Photo Voltaic panels on south facing roof. Aniticpated yield 32,000 kWh pa
- 130 car parking spaces with 7 for disabled visitors
- 2 electric Vehicle charging points with ducts to add more in future
- 18 Motorcycle spaces
- Secure, undercover cycle racks for 30 cycles with CCTV.