Real Zorro

Mission - to challenge in East Devon. To hold elected representatives & their officials to account.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Knowle sale - 11 March EDDC Cabinet papers in full

The papers for East Devon District Council’s Cabinet meeting that is being held on 11 March have now been published. Zorro’s key interest in this meeting is that it will in effect be the decision making meeting on whether the Council’s Headquarters site at the Knowle is put up for sale and it determines to relocate on split sites to Exmouth and Honiton.

Of course the full Council meeting on 25 March makes the ultimate decision but Zorro struggles to see how at that meeting the Conservative majority group Councillors will suddenly wake up and have grown some backbone and oppose any Cabinet recommendation to sell the Knowle. So, therefore to all intents and purposes this Cabinet meeting is the key date for anyone interested in the future of the Knowle.
EDDC Headquarters, the Knowle. Its future seems doomed.
The meeting is open to the public, starts at 5.30pm and is being held at the Knowle in Sidmouth. The consideration of the sale of the Knowle is being dealt with under item 12 of the agenda “Office relocation”. The consideration is in the open part of the meeting which allows members of the public to be in the Council Chamber whilst the members of the Cabinet discuss the issue.
EDDC Leader Clr Diviani. He wants to sell off the Knowle.
Yesterday the Sidmouth Herald broke the news, and Zorro carried the story on this blog, that Pegasus Life Ltd had indicated it was willing to buy the Knowle and associated land for between £7m and £8m. So there is a real incentive at work here for the Cabinet member to push on through the already preferred position of selling the Knowle and putting into effect the relocation of the Headquarters. All of this is despite the opposition of a large number of District Council electors.
Pegasus Life. It wants to buy the Knowle.

The papers relating to the relocation are in three parts and cover pages 39 to 137 of the various documents attached to the agenda. Zorro has only captured the papers that specifically relate to the relocation issue. For reference pages numbered 81 to 89 inclusive are duplicates of what appear in pages 64 to 72 inclusive.

Relocation document 1 – is the Council’s report on the relocation and it is clear that the sale of the Knowle and relocating to Exmouth and Honiton is what the Cabinet members are expected to agree to. Interestingly, in the very final section (8.2) of this report it says “This is a significant and sensitive decision for the Council to take. EDDC is not a Council that shies away from major decisions....”

The report is therefore concluding that despite all of the opposition from electors and many Councillors to the sale and the relocation, that the Cabinet should press on regardless!

Document 1 is here -

Document 2 is a relocation audit undertaken by South West Partnership Audit (SWAP) and you can read it here -

It is worth noting that SWAP is an organisation that is run by and for a number of local authorities, including East Devon District Council! So, that’s handy then!

 Document 3 is entitled “Financial Model services for the Council’s office relocation project and benchmarking exercise of cost assumptions” and it was prepared by financial accountants Grant Thornton. This document is here –

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