Is Head of Knowle relocation scheme to be trusted?

In a swingeing attack on EDDC Deputy Chief Executive and Head of the Relocation Project team, Richard Cohen, Sidmouth resident Richard Eley told last night’s Public Meeting, that he had no confidence in Mr Cohen because (we quote) he was:

“The man who moved the southern boundary of the Knowle to include the parkland without telling anybody and in contradiction to the specific instructions of the Development Management Committee (1). I was told this would not be investigated because the Inspector (2) would look at it, which he would not do because it was not within his remit. So this has never been investigated by anybody at the Knowle.”

“He did it without managing to record that process; without recording any conversation or without writing a single email, or keeping a single note or sending any kind of correspondence to any third party. Because I made a freedom of information request, and there was nothing there.”

“He did it unilaterally, on his own, secretly, and he didn’t tell a single soul, and I only found out by accident.”

And in another gross miscalculation, added Mr Eley, Richard Cohen had underestimated the size of the Knowle offices by 40%.

He concluded, “This is not the kind of person that I would trust to do these calculations. When he says, ‘It’s going to cost £15.5 million to refurbish (the Knowle)’. I would tell him, “That’s a load of rubbish!”

(1) editorial note: after the DMC had refused EDDC’s outline planning application for the Knowle in March 2013

(2) editorial note: at the public examination of the draft Local Plan, in February 2014.

4 thoughts on “Is Head of Knowle relocation scheme to be trusted?

  1. Interesting cv, with the expected level of humility. Sad to see the Stephen Lawrence Trust stained by association with this individual. So EDDC decided to employ a ‘Regeneration Consultant’ as its Deputy CEO. No wonder he feels no obligation to be honest with the public or to be respectful of normal standards of public service conduct. And is happy to use the furtive complaints procedure to bully councillors who try to monitor his activities. They knew what they wanted and what they were getting when they employed him didn’t they? Anyone who votes tory next year knows full well what they will get. More of the same, with this person even more firmly entrenched.

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  2. Can we get any background on this man’s CV ? I believe he came from Camden to replace Karime Hassan, now chief exec in Exeter…. What is it about the planning position that seems to attract such (in my opinion) cavalier and single minded, anti local feeling applicants?

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  3. And Mr Cohen’s “evidence” to the Inspectorate over a public rights of way appeal into Knowle gardens was given “little credence” by the Inspector who granted the public’s appeal…
    And the same Mr Cohen, at a recent hearing (at which EDDC, at public expense, challenged the Information Commissioner’s ruling that the Council should release reports on the office relocation), described the public who pay his salary as “the other side” while referring to a “problem” over footpaths. This concerns EDDC’s intention to spend yet more public money challenging the Inspector’s decision over rights of way into Knowle Park…

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