1. The decision
The decision to relocate was taken by council members on 25 March 2015. The council will move out of its current premises at Knowle, Sidmouth to purpose built offices in Honiton and to Exmouth Town Hall, which will be refurbished.
Council officers are engaged in implementing the decision of the council which will see relocation to Exmouth take place during the latter part of 2017, with relocation to the new purpose built offices in Honiton by Spring 2018. It is important to note that these dates have to remain indicative only as there are many factors outside the control of the council that may create delays in this process.
The decision to move was endorsed by both the overview and scrutiny committee and the audit and governance committee of the council.
The decision taken by council was underpinned by robust and complex independent financial modelling which was verified by the council’s internal and externally appointed auditors (South West Audit Partnership and Grant Thornton respectively). The modelling clearly shows that the option of moving to these two sites is significantly more financially advantageous in overall cost terms for council tax payers of East Devon than the council remaining in its current premises which are extremely expensive to run and in need of extensive improvement and repair.
The modelling clearly shows that with the sale of Knowle and a loan of £2m from the Public Works Loan board taken over 20 years that the council will be £2.8m better off if it relocates. This compares to it being £3.9m worse off by staying at Knowle even taking into account only vital repairs to the building.