So, Somerset is moving towards a unitary authority (see below). Inevitable really, isn’t it.
The new HQ for the already combined Taunton Deane and West Somerset authority is ten minutes walk from Somerset County Hall. Taunton Deane and West Somerset are intending to spend £11 million altering their building to accommodate their merger requirements – when Somerset County Hall has a lot of spare capacity.
Meanwhile EDDC proceeds apace with Blackdown House, their new HQ in Honiton, at a minimum cost of £10m – and an ultimate cost of probably MUCH more than that – without at any factoring into their calculations of the likelihood of a unitary Devon proposal similarly coming forward with the same arguments for big savings.
EDDC’s consultants apparently estimated the open market value of Blackdown House on completion of the building to be £3 million. Given the current economic situation, even that might be optimistic.
So a potential BIG loss looming – with the local taxpayer picking up the bills? And that’s if HQ builder Interserve s
If Somerset goes unitary, that will be Somerset, Cornwall and Wiltshire all unitary and Dorset double unitary. Devon will be an anachronistic exception.
Has Devon County Council leader John Hart anything to tell us?
And Owl bets soon-to-be-ex-Leader Paul Diviani may be very pleased with the timing of his exit!