Has EDDC’s new Manstone depot satellite office block been included in relocation costs?

The following Freedom of Information request implies that the cost may not have been included, but we shall see, we hope.

Owl wonders why just one set of employees has been left in Sidmouth in brand new offices and why they could not be accommodated on the Honiton site or the Exmouth site. Surely, THREE sets of offices will be MUCH more expensive to run than one HQ? But cost barely seem to concern Tory councillors, who seem to feel there is little need to scrutinise them.

“Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

“Dear Ms Symington,

I would like to make a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I am also making this request under the Environmental Impact Regulations 2004 which require disclosure on the part of Local Authorities.

On 22nd December, I corresponded with the Planning Department with regard to the Council’s planning application for offices for its Estates Department at the Manstone Depot in Sidmouth: https://planning.eastdevon.gov.uk/online…

Several of my questions were answered, but not the following:

“The site is now clearly part of the District Council’s relocation project. This application represents the relocation of one of the key departments from the Knowle site – and yet there has been no mention in the Moving and Improving site pages: http://eastdevon.gov.uk/moving-and-impro…
“And I am unable to find any other information about this relocation of the Estates Department elsewhere.”

Could you provide me with any such references to this project (other than the planning application itself), either as documentation or weblinks.

And could you provide me with the full and exact costings for this planning application: the building costs of the new offices and where the finance for this project will be coming from.

On 9th January, the District Council stated the following to the press:

“The transfer of depot activities is an existing costed element of the relocation project and, as such, included within the independent and positive cost modelling of relocation.”

Could you provide me with the documentation which shows how the transfer of depot activities is an existing costed element of the relocation project.

And could you indicate exactly where this information is located within the independent and positive cost modelling of relocation.

I would be grateful if you could answer the four stipulated questions above.

Thank you.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours faithfully,
Jeremy Woodward


“Rabbit hutch Britain”

“Get ready for a new wave of “micro-homes” – tiny flats, often in converted office buildings, that are roughly the size of a typical bedroom yet supposedly big enough for two people to live in.

Such properties are already springing up. Guardian Money tracked down a miniscule, newish studio flat in the centre of Croydon that measures just 14.9 sq m (160 sq ft), even though government guidance states that the minimum floor area for any new home is 37 sq m.

We were also passed drawings of plans for an eight-flat development in Archway, north London – in Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington North constituency – where two of the “apartments” measured just 13.5 sq m (145 sq ft). That’s a room measuring just 12ft by 12ft. Perhaps thankfully, the plans were refused by the council but may yet reappear in modified form.

Some experts worry that we could see many more shoebox homes popping up following publication this week of the government’s housing white paper. Britain’s new-build homes are already the smallest in Europe, prompting claims that many families are living in “rabbit hutch-sized” properties that are so cramped there isn’t enough space for them to live comfortably, sit down and eat together or even store necessities such as a vacuum cleaner. But could the UK now be facing a fresh squeeze on the size of its homes?

Ministers have admitted that England’s housing market is “broken”, and have set out a number of measures aimed at fixing it. But some commentators were alarmed at the suggestion that, as part of efforts to make “better use” of land for housing, home sizes may have to shrink further.

The white paper included a proposal to review the guidance on minimum sizes for new homes “to ensure greater local housing choice”, even though it has only been in force since October 2015. It said the government was concerned that a “one size fits all approach may not reflect the needs and aspirations of a wider range of households, and could be hindering innovative approaches to meeting demand”.

The guidance – known officially as the “nationally described space standard” – gives local authorities the option to set minimum sizes for new homes. Despite not being compulsory, it is starting to reverse the trend for smaller properties, says the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba), which is urging the government not to remove or water down the standard.

What is undeniable is that many new builds are “bijou”, to say the least. In 2014, researchers from Cambridge University found that, at an average of 76 sq m, the UK’s newly built homes were the smallest by floor area in Europe. At the other end of the spectrum was Denmark at 137 sq m (having all that space probably helps explain why it is allegedly the world’s happiest country).

As recently as December 2015, Riba research showed that more than half of the new homes under construction were too small to meet the needs of the people who buy them. It found that homes in Yorkshire were the smallest in England, with the average new three-bedroom property about 25 sq m smaller than one in London (84 sq m versus 108.5 sq m). …


Cranbrook New Community Manager – salary up to £47,632

“We are looking for a highly motivated individual to lead the Council’s planning team in achieving the vision for Cranbrook to develop as a vibrant and sustainable new community. Cranbrook is already a thriving community that is home to over 3000 people. You will be at the forefront of guiding the expansion to nearly 8000 homes and delivering the work spaces and community infrastructure needed to ensure that it is a truly sustainable new town.”


Good luck with that job!