EDDC revised relocation plans ‘to cost £11’

EDDC's Knowle headquarters

EDDC's Knowle headquarters - Credit: Archant

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) proposed move to Honiton and Exmouth is likely to cost around £11million - it was revealed this week.

Authority bosses recently announced they were scrapping plans to relocate to their preferred site of SkyPark in favour of splitting 250 staff between offices at Honiton’s Heathpark site and Exmouth Town Hall.

At a meeting organised by the Sid Vale Association on Tuesday, Councillor Peter Sullivan, who represents the Sidmouth Town ward, updated members of the public on the latest financial details.

He said that the figures, ‘as of Tuesday morning’, estimated the build cost of new offices at the EDDC-owned Heathpark at £7.5million - with ‘internal furbishment costs’ of approximately £2.5million.

He added that the refurbishment of existing offices at Exmouth Town Hall would cost in the region of £900,000.

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But he said work at the Exmouth offices would be ‘more cost effective’ than an overhaul at Knowle because the town hall had been purpose-built for use as a public building, whereas the current EDDC headquarters was a hotel.

Cllr Sullivan said the council has spent around £500,000 on the relocation project so far.

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But, he said, this had been factored into the total move cost and would not represent an additional expense once the project was finished.

He added: “For anyone who has ever moved house, you know it costs to move.”

Mr Sullivan said that EDDC had deliberately over-budgeted for the move to the tune of 20 per cent.

He added that although the council would still need to borrow money to finance the move, the latest figures showed that the council would start seeing a return on their outlay after 10 years.

He said: “Looking at the costs as they stand at this present time, it is not going to make any difference to the council tax that each one of us pays.”

He also revealed there has been a total of 10 offers for Knowle, which had been whittled down to seven ‘actual bids’, including a mixture of residential and care home proposals.

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