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'Unfit for purpose' Knowle HQ up for sale

PUBLISHED: 07:10 10 September 2014

EDDC deputy chief executive Richard Cohen and Cllr Paul Diviani at Knowle. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 8232-30-13AW

EDDC deputy chief executive Richard Cohen and Cllr Paul Diviani at Knowle. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 8232-30-13AW

Archant

East Devon's District Council's (EDDC) Sidmouth HQ is being marketed as an 'exceptional redevelopment location' as the authority aims to fund its move to SkyPark.

It moved to Knowle in the 1970s and had offices added but bosses say it is now ‘unfit for purpose’.

They say the increasing cost of running the ‘ageing building stock’ and ‘occupational inefficiencies’ mean they need to relocate.

Deputy chief executive Richard Cohen said: “Our decision to relocate has been driven by a desire to deliver a modern council from modern offices. We are open minded about future uses for the site.”

The building and its parkland have a draft application for 50 dwellings in the draft Local Plan.

EDDC expects to have vacated by May 2017 and currently intends to reach an agreement with Sidmouth Town Council to hand over the remaining parkland.

Knowle can be bought together with the Manstone Depot, which EDDC is also ‘disposing of’ and has the draft allocation for a further 20 homes. It is already marketing its property at Honiton’s Heathpark Industrial Estate to help fund the move.

Council leader Paul Diviani said: “Knowle has been home to the council for over 40 years but now we need to move. We believe the sale of both of these sites will provide value for council tax payers and the proposed relocation to new premises will enable the district council to move with the times.”

Informal tenders are being invited by Wednesday, October 22, but EDDC has not indicated the price it hopes to get.

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