Knowle move will be “cost neutral”- EDDC leader

A “COST neutral” district council move from Knowle in Sidmouth to purpose-built new premises in Honiton will save tax-payers’ cash in the long-term.

That was the claim that came from authority’s leader, Paul Diviani, when he revealed its budget for 2012/13 last week.

Proposals for a relocation - the fate of which will be decided in the coming months - were “gathering pace”, a full council meeting heard.

Councillor Diviani said last Wednesday on a mooted move: “Working in a modern environment (new headquarters) will enable cost savings to be made and the move is intended to be cost neutral.

“In order to make savings, we always look at our administration first and do our utmost to preserve frontline services.”

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has frozen the share of council tax it collects from residents in places like Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary for the third year in a row. This means a typical Band D household will pay EDDC �121.78 a year.

East Devon continues to have the lowest council tax in Devon and 16th lowest in the country.

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Council bosses say they will still forge ahead with improvements in the district to help ensure that people have homes and jobs.

Members’ allowances have also been frozen.

Cllr Diviani welcomed a budget that will allow the continued expansion of recycling, which has already seen collection levels rise above 50 per cent and landfill waste drop.

He added that EDDC was working hard to ensure around 11,000 jobs become a reality at Skypark, Science Park and the Intermodal Freight Park.

Mr Diviani said a payment of �84,376,000 to Government will give the council more freedom to operate its service how it, and tenants, want it run.

Council house rents will increase by 6.1 per cent, with garage rents up by 3 per cent.

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