Further discussions on future building to take place through Full Council, Audit and Governance, Overview and Scrutiny committees in April 2017
Councillors at a meeting on Wednesday 5 April 2017 of East Devon District Council’s Cabinet have supported the proposal to commence the construction of an office building that would become the council’s new headquarters at Honiton’s Heathpark. The modernisation of Exmouth Town Hall as a key centre for future council service provision is already well underway and on target to open in Nov 2017.
The Office Relocation report, which was presented to Cabinet, also recommended that relocation to Honiton should not be dependent on the immediate redevelopment of East Devon’s current offices at Knowle, which is owned outright by the local authority and constitutes its most valuable asset.
Knowle’s sale and ultimate redevelopment will still take place in the future and the capital receipt will then be secured to largely fund the relocation which will cost £10,361,000 in total.
Cabinet was also asked to consider investing in a more direct approach to the entrance to the new HQ by building an access road along the side of the existing East Devon Business Centre. At a cost of £225,000 this would simplify the route from the main road to the Council’s offices for visitors and staff alike.
Cabinet’s recommendations will now go forward to a meeting of the combined Audit and Governance, Overview and Scrutiny committees on 18 April for further discussion before going back to full Council on 26 April 2017.
If agreement can be reached, the council hopes to complete its move to the new purpose built office by December 2018.
I am delighted that Cabinet has given its support to move this vital project forward. Our commitment to the office relocation remains as strong as ever, as the move to new fit-for-purpose offices in Honiton and refurbished offices in Exmouth is a key part of our transformation strategy. It’s about becoming more efficient as a council, protecting our front line services and delivering long term savings.
Many other councils have already taken the opportunity to upgrade to better offices and modern ways of working and it is high time that East Devon does the same. Having an office presence in the district’s two largest towns is fundamental to our purpose and the bottom line is we need a modern working environment that is not only accessible to our residents, but which will also offer a workplace that will enable us to attract and retain the right calibre of staff. In this way we can provide the quality of service that the residents of East Devon deserve.