Matters of financial high risk

In response to our recent post* on the difficulties surrounding the Honiton Beehive project, an EDA member has provided the following information, and some comments. (page 72)

An extract from the Audit & Governance Committee agenda of 14th November 2013 summarizes progress on The Beehive community centre at Honiton[1]. The advice was that, “surface water drainage provision would be needed to a higher standard than originally anticipated to reflect potential flooding issues, especially to neighbouring residential properties.”

“Honiton Town Council had not envisaged such costs in its original budgeting. EDDC officers from Property, Planning and Building Control met with HTC to assess the issue and determine a workable resolution. The various drainage scenarios and history of the issue were considered. The outcome was that, for the project build to proceed to a point where it could be signed off, a drainage infrastructure investment would be needed over and above the capacity of the existing fund. Therefore to cover the necessary works EDDC agreed by urgent verbal report to 12 June 2013 Cabinet (Part B) to fund a sum of up to 90% of a ceiling of £130,000. HTC will be expected to meet 10% of costs.”

“The reason for this urgency was that works would have to stop on the site construction and additional costs would be incurred by delay to contract. Without agreement to the provision of suitable drainage the building would not be signed off by Building Control and the planning condition not discharged. The building would therefore be uninsurable.”

Note: 90% of the £130,000 bill was picked up by EDDC ratepayers, only 10% by Honiton Town Council. If the Beehive project is deemed high risk, surely Skypark must be off the scale?

Does this inspire you with confidence for the future? For example, EDDC Councillors want the public to trust them with sale of The Knowle; plus sale of Manstone Depot; plus sale of East Devon Business Centre; plus sale of the SITA site at Honiton; ALL of these properties plus borrowing up to £4.8million, in order to construct one building, namely their new premises at Skypark? They have already spent or committed over £700,000 of OUR MONEY. To coin a phrase from the successful Feniton campaigners, “When is enough, enough?”


One thought on “Matters of financial high risk

  1. It is well known that the development of the Beehive project encountered much political meddling at town and district level.

    However, I would want to put on record my personal admiration for the outcome. It is an excellent, flexible space of which the town and surrounding communities ought to be proud.

    Very often petty jealousies and gleeful ignorance can blight projects like this, and it is clear that the Beehive has been scarred by its difficult genesis. A real pity, because its vision and potential are outstanding.

    It seems that the best form of governance is an independent charity with a clear plan agreed by all parties for the future.

    However, although the financial projections for both the sale of Sidmouth assets by EDDC and the proposed move to Skypark have not yet inspired much real confidence in those looking on, the Beehive is not an analogous project, and deserves more than being used as a rod with which to beat EDDC.


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