Questions over suitability of community complex site

‘Site not suitable’ say Honiton Town Council.

THE suitability of the Dowell Street site earmarked for a community complex has been questioned by Honiton Town Council following concerns raised in a recent report.

The town council is to arrange a meeting with the leader of East Devon District Council and its officers as a matter of urgency, after concerns were raised over the sites suitability.

Councillor Nick Cornwell said: “East Devon District Council withdrew the long-standing offer of a suitable site in structural terms and has instead given us an unsuitable site.”

A number of concerns were raised in the clerk’s report looking into the foundations of the site.

One of the main problems was soft spots on the foundations, which had to be strengthened, as well as a possible health hazard because of contamination from hydrocarbons, which would incur additional costs.

An additional problem was the presence of Japanese Knot Weed on the edge of the site, which could be controlled or eradicated from the area, as well as a problem with soak drainage.

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The town council had previously agreed to accept the Dowell Street site on the condition that the land was found to be suitable for the development.

Mr Cornwell added: “It seems to me we either commit to the expense of the extra �140,000 on making the site suitable or refuse that site and ask for Lace Walk, where there were never questions over the suitability, or ask EDDC to deliver the site they have given us in a suitable condition.”

“My feelings are that we have not been given a suitable site. It could be made suitable, but how long do we spend to make it suitable. It doesn’t seem to me that we are in a position to say yes and just accept the extra costs.”

Councillor Vivienne Ash said: “We are going around in circles. The longer we put this off the worse it gets.

“The district council has a moral responsibility to come up with something definitive. It has cost this council and the public a lot of time and money, which was not necessary.”

She suggested that the council could consider putting the contract out for tender, which would allow the council to know exactly what the project was going to cost.

It was agreed that the town council will discuss this matter with EDDC.