Knowle completion delayed

East Devon District Council has confirmed that the sale of Knowle, its former Sidmouth offices, has not yet occurred as the developer has failed to complete by the agreed contract date of Wednesday 18 December.

Lifestory Group Limited (formerly known as Pegasus Life Ltd) were recently in contact with the council seeking an extension rather than meet their existing contracted obligation to pay the outstanding total by 18 December.

While Lifestory have outlined that they believe they can complete in the New Year following external legal advice, the council has resolved to protect its position which means that the council will commence legal proceedings to secure the agreed and contracted £9m payment as well as any associated costs and damages.

The council considers this a necessary and appropriate step as it has an over-riding responsibility to protect the public purse.

Councillor Ben Ingham, Leader of the council, said: “It is deeply disappointing and surprising that a developer such as Lifestory Group Limited should seek an extension of this nature. The council has taken expert legal advice which has confirmed the strength of the council’s position and remains confident that it will secure the £9m sale price plus associated costs and damages.”

There is no immediate impact on council finances for this financial year. As legal proceedings can take time the council will consider the position again if Lifestory do not settle the matter early in the New Year.

In the meantime the council will continue to maintain security and other arrangements on the Knowle site.