‘I hope you feel guilt and shame’ - EDDC chairman

Peter Halse attacks cabinet members for withdrawing original Honiton Community Centre site.

The chairman of East Devon District Council says the way the authority behaved when it revoked a decision to offer land behind Lace Walk for the proposed Honiton Community Centre was “disgraceful”.

Councillor Peter Halse, addressing the council’s cabinet last Wednesday, said he hoped those involved in that decision felt “guilt and shame”.

“It was absolutely disgraceful,” he said. “I was sat here not believing this council was doing that.”

He later thanked cabinet members for their “moderate response” to his “inflamatory remarks”.

Councillor Halse said the community was in support of the plan and urged the council to provide an extra �140,000 towards the project.

Councillor David Cox said: “We have discussed this topic at great length on five or six occasions.

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“I would like to say that the decision not to proceed at Lace Walk was a good one.

“The Dowell Street site is a generous offer.

“Are we prepared to give or guarantee �140,000? The fact is, we don’t have �140,000.

“I know there is an argument to support a guarantee arrangement, but we must be satisfied the business plan will work and that the sums add up.”

Councillor Cox urged cabinet members to consider giving Honiton Town Council extra time to realise their project on the Dowell Street site.

Currently, the council has just over a year to start work on the project - or the land offer will be withdrawn.

It was suggested the council could be more flexible and extend the time limit by a year.

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