Costly proposal


Save Our Sidmouth has consistently argued that the proposed EDDC move to the Knowle is unjustified, has too many risks and is far too costly.

They base their desire to move on operational savings over 20 years of about £4.5m, on the fact that “the existing buildings are not fit for purpose”, (despite a considerable part being only 30 years old and specified and built by EDDC).

We believe that a review of the available options should include a detailed analysis of remaining where they are, and reconstructing the part of the building that they don’t need into apartments. This they have never done, only asserting that there would be no demand for this option.

The record of governmental organisations in planning and costing major infrastructure and IT projects are very suspect as we are all too aware; particularly when implementation over a considerable timeframe – such as the projected move. Only in 20 years time will the reality be apparent; EDDC must have a crystal ball and be far more able than other institutions to be able to reliably forecast events and costs over this timeframe.

In all of EDDC’s activities we all know that they try to throw a veil of secrecy over their activities, particularly those relating to the Knowle. It has proved for instance, impossible for us to get a breakdown of the current expenditure on the Knowle relocation exercise. One would think that we are their servants rather than the reverse.

And the latest news from EDDC does not reassure us.

They have spent in excess of £380,000 of our money so far, (excluding staff-time costs), in preparing and putting forward their earlier, doomed plan for redevelopment.

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They are now proposing another £200,000 per year for the next two years as a ‘marker’ to show that there will be further expenses to any move. This is in addition to a loan for £4m they foresee to fund the move. (How this is reconciled with a cost saving of £4.5m we fail to understand.)

But of course, they are still going ahead with cuts all over the district, including those of £134,000 in the budget to care for homeless people and increasing their staff numbers to almost 400 at the Knowle.

Is there no end to our council’s arrogance and incompetence?

Richard Thurlow

via email.