Rumours of Knowle’s sale are exaggerated

sir - Your headline “Knowle for sale” (Sidmouth Herald, July 16) was not only disconcerting for staff working here, not to mention traders in Sidmouth who benefit from the presence of our workforce in the town, but was patently untrue.

Even the addition of a question mark after the headline might have been acceptable. As it is, the heading totally misleads the reader about the true situation reported in the article below.

It is actually not news that EDDC has been reviewing the business case for remaining in its Sidmouth headquarters. The council, like any responsible private or public sector organisation – routinely checks the value of its assets and assesses whether its premises best suit operational needs. Previous reviews have been reported in the press and this is just the most recent in a series of assessments.

Officers have been asked to assess the latest situation in light of current market values and the well-publicised need for councils to make savings in every area, where this can be done, without affecting front line services.

Apart from the misleading headline, the article was speculative in the extreme, including, as it did, the totally unsubstantiated throwaway line that the council would “rake in millions” from the sale of the building. Such a move is entirely dependent on finding alternative premises that could either be built or adapted at a cost that would make it economically sensible to vacate the building.

Given current market values and the likely cost of relocation, it would be a close run thing as to whether a move was viable. It is for this reason that members need to discuss the options and carefully consider the way forward – which was precisely the purpose of last week’s discussion.

Mark Williams

Most Read

Chief Executive, EDDC