They’re in dreamland

If your pre-1980s home was “not fit for purpose”, what would you do?

a) get several quotes for a new kitchen and bathroom plus re-wiring and compare the prices?

b) just add a lick of paint, tidy the garden and put it on the market?

c) forget the decorating, just put it up for auction?

d) see whether the family owns any other properties you could sell and borrow a huge sum of money to build your DREAM HOME?

Guess which option EDDC has chosen? You’ve guessed it – Option D.

To date they have spent over £350,000 and have committed £800,000 (so far) on this project, excluding officer time.

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They want to sell The Knowle and Manstone Depot in Sidmouth, plus the East Devon Business Centre and SITA site at Honiton.

Still this will not be enough for their DREAM HOME, so in addition they may have to borrow up to £4.8million.

However, it is a safe bet that this will not be the end of the matter and YOU, the ratepayer, will end up footing the bill.

WE paid for their existing premises, so shouldn’t we have a say?

The costs have escalated from the initial estimated £1million refurbishment of a “not fit for purpose” building – yet the red brick building was only constructed in the 1970s.

An email sent to me on February 2 by Councillor Mike Allen stated: “The cost of £15million for refurbishment compared to another building for £5million-£9million simply makes no sense to me.

“You can be sure that any proposals from officers will be closely scrutinised and the right questions asked.

“We are not party political lemmings, we are looking for the best decision for all for the next 25 to 59 years.”

By this analogy, parliament (re-built 1852, House of Commons) would by now have been moved around London several times and could have been rebuilt at least three times (every 59 years) or, worst case scenario, seven times (every 25 years), but at what cost? What guarantee do we, the public, have that EDDC will not come back in 2050 saying, once again, that their “new” building is not “fit for purpose”?

The ambition in West Dorset to move to new premises had a catastrophic outcome resulting in the need for a £2million rescue as West Dorset District Council’s proposals were in danger of collapsing due to the economic climate, and the council receiving low bids in attempting to sell their existing building.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Frankly, it is the councillors who made this decision who are not “fit for purpose”.

Marianne Rixson

(via email)