Future of community complex takes centre stage

Centre in Honiton could open early next year.

RESIDENTS were out in force to discuss plans for a new community complex for Honiton.

The town council’s offices were packed with supporters and objectors at the public meeting held last Wednesday night to discuss the centre’s future use.

As it stands, the plans for the complex in Dowell Street car park have been submitted to East Devon District Council for approval.

And, as part of the next stage, it will be sent out to tender.

Town mayor, Councillor Vernon Whitlock said: “We have done an awful lot of consultation over the years to get to the stage of going out to tender.

“We are working closely in partnership with East Devon District Council (EDDC) and chief executive Richard Cohen.”

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The previous business plan for the centre came under scrutiny from the district council and Mr Cohen provided assistance to ensure the project continues.

The current cost of the centre stands at over �2 million. However, Councillor Whitlock reassured residents that the council did not anticipate any increase in the precept to pay for it.

He said: “This year is not going to see any rise in the community charge and we don’t anticipate it in the next few years.”

The centre is to include staging areas, retractable seating, solar panels and rain water harvesting, a caf� and bar, Changing Places toilets and council offices.

The town council hopes to move into the centre as its current offices, in New Street, are deemed unsuitable due to the limited disabled access.

If planning permission is granted the site is expected to be completed in early 2013.