Councillors back SkyPark move

PUBLISHED: 12:55 03 March 2014

The EDDC's current  offices at The Knowle in Sidmouth.

The EDDC's current offices at The Knowle in Sidmouth.

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Plans for a new HQ near Cranbrook are supported by East Devon District Council

East Devon District Council’s planned move to a new home near Cranbrook has taken a major step forward.

Further research into the viability of relocating from its current base at Sidmouth to the Exeter SkyPark was supported by the full council last week.

Council officers will now enter a further evaluation and negotiation phase and a report outlining whether the authority should commit funding to the new headquarters is expected to be presented to cabinet and full council in July.

Council Leader Paul Diviani said: “Now we have full council’s approval to enter further negotiation with the preferred option of SkyPark we can focus our attention solely on this site.

“SkyPark is firmly on East Devon soil and the location exemplifies the council’s commitment to the Growth Point – this is an exciting emerging employment and commercial development locations in the district which will help East Devon keep its promise to deliver a thriving, competitive local economy with quality jobs.

“As part of the office relocation we will be engaging with customers and stakeholders to ask them what particular services they would like to see provided elsewhere – to a greater degree than they already are if we press the button and decide to move to SkyPark.”

A marketing exercise for Knowle and Manstone will now also get underway, as well as an investigation into options on re-provision of business space to succeed East Devon Business Centre. This follows full council’s decision to offer the council’s Heathpark site for redevelopment.

Capital receipts from Knowle, Manstone and Heathpark will be invested in the new headquarters so that the council keeps its commitment not to place any extra burden on council tax payers.

Back in November, cabinet shortlisted five out of 15 possible sites for new office accommodation. These were Cranbrook town centre, SkyPark, two sites on Heathpark in Honiton and Clyst House at Winslade Park. Cabinet took the decision on February 5 to go with SkyPark.

If cabinet and full council commit funding to the new headquarters in the summer it is likely that the council would relocate towards the end of 2016.

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