A visitor to EDDC’s new HQ finds nothing to like … and worries about safety

View from the public gallery at the first Annual Council EDDC meeting (22 May 2019) in the cramped, airless, Council Chamber, poorly provided with natural light. First time visitors and also, no doubt, the impressive number of newly-elected councillors, were in for some further surprises. For instance, people-flow aspects in the arrangement of the room were awkward, as Cllr Moulding signalled early on, when he asked the vicar leading the opening prayer, “Do you want to slip out the sideway or promenade down the middle?” The single-file queue to get out of the room at the end of the meeting, only one door being open, raised questions of health and safety in an emergency.

One veteran former Member of the Council had to point out that in these purpose-built new premises, disabled access was problematic. Other observations overheard in the public gallery questioned why the seating plan allocated to the East Devon Alliance , the third biggest group, was in the back row only, in three separate areas. There was also astonishment that, surrounded by idle hi-tech screens, the CEO had used the oldfashioned, time-wasting way of counting votes.

Some of these evident ‘ teething problems’ can of course be swiftly resolved, under the welcome new cross-Party Leadership.”