Firm appointed to market Knowle
06:00 16 June 2014
DISTRICT council bosses have agreed to earmark another £200,000 for the authority’s relocation - and to appoint experts to market Knowle and Sidmouth’s Manstone Depot.
But the progress of the project is still being held up by a Town and Village Green (TVG) application submitted by nearby neighbours.
Deputy chief executive Richard Cohen told cabinet members at a meeting last Wednesday: “You shouldn’t be surprised by such manoeuvres.”
He added ‘money and some time’ had been spent opposing the application, on which the county council will decide.
“Marketing agents that we’ve talked to are assuring us that the Knowle and Manstone Depot sites are an attractive proposition to the market,” said Mr Cohen.
“Their advice has been to wait on progress regarding that particular TVG before marketing the opportunity.”
Cllr Ray Bloxham said a piece of work is underway ‘to see what service delivery we can produce in each of our towns and what kind of facilities would be needed to do that’.
He added: “The important thing is members of the public who want to engage with the district council in some way can do it in the towns where they live rather than coming to our offices.”
Cllr Andrew Moulding questioned how many residents in East Devon visit Knowle, adding: “Unless there’s a major planning application people are concerned about, people would not necessarily need to communicate by actually going along and visiting the headquarters of the council.”
He said that an ambition of ‘transforming the council’ could be fulfilled ‘as long as we can have an office that’s modern, used better by our staff and indeed we can communicate better from those premises with the people that we serve’.
Members agreed a further £203,000 for 2014/15 – bringing the total pre-contract cost to £705,000.
Savills will be commissioned with managing the marketing of both Sidmouth assets.