Blackout (whoops, sorry, Blackdown) House – is the EDDC HQ best value?

Owl sees that relocating is expected to save £1.4 million over 20 years, according to a recent DevonLive article, mentioned earlier by EDW:

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/questions-hang-air-over-council-3148843

Owl wonders whether they are comparing Honiton to Knowle, or whether they are comparing the running costs of Honiton and Exmouth to Knowle. Is it apples with apples or apples with pears or apples with pears and jackfruit?

At a very minimum, the total cost of relocation was £10 million, but nearer £15 million is more likely, since all costs have yet to be fully accounted for.

So the putative savings per annum of £70,000 will not even cover the interest payments on the relocation debt and, if so, East Devon’s residents will be saddled with an increasing debt burden as the years go by. The relocation debt will almost certainly never be repaid – certainly not by the trivial cost savings achieved by the new building.

As most East Devon residents live on the coast, particularly of course Exmouth, and most of their councillors do likewise, Honiton is quite a remote location, certainly much less accessible than Sidmouth, particularly by public transport at appropriate times. So getting to the new HQ is more difficult and costly. It will be interesting to see how the travel expenses of staff and members compare to the Knowle years. Will the increased travel costs wipe out some or all of the £70,000 ‘savings’?

How long before Blackball (whoops, sorry Blackdown) House is deemed ‘not fit for purpose’? Judging by the inadequacy of the main chamber:

and the seemingly insurmountable parking and access issues, not to mention unpopular open-plan hot-desking and general inaccessibility, it would seem that day has already arrived.

Where shall we go next? Skypark? Cranbrook Town Centre? Exmouth seafront?

Perhaps PegasusLife could be prevailed upon to sell Knowle back to EDDC? With a refurbishment of the newer section of the Knowle and an extended “green” parkland to offset the global heating crisis, EDDC would probably be quids in.

AND, of course, with a ground source heat pump, up-to-date insulation, proper maintenance and warmer global temperatures, there would be none of those pesky utility bills EDDC were so secretive about when they were previously there!

“You don’t get to choose whether Brexit happens, Johnson tells MPs”

So, what are MPs FOR?

This chap was selected by around 90,000 people out of a population of 66 million – whyy does HE get to decide?

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/26/boris-johnson-warning-mps-block-no-deal-brexit?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“England school places shortage ‘made worse by academies’ “

“Councils are warning that a looming shortage in the number of school places across England is being made worse by academies, as last decade’s baby boom enters secondary schools over the next five years.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling for the government to restore powers to councils enabling them to open new maintained schools if residents support them, and for new powers for councils to require academies to expand to meet local demand.

Anntoinette Bramble, the chair of the LGA’s children and young people board, said that without such changes children were at risk of not having a secondary school place.

“Our secondary school places crisis is now just one year away and this will be the reality for thousands of families without action,” Bramble said.

Last year, about 20% of families in England failed to gain a place at their first preference school, with the rate rising above 40% in several London boroughs including Lambeth and Lewisham. One in eight families in London failed to gain a place at any of their choices.

Councils say their position is made impossible by conflicting rules, which place a legal duty on them to ensure adequate school places for local children but allow only autonomous academies and free schools to be opened to provide more places, other than in rare circumstances.

With most state secondary schools in England now academies, the problem is made worse because local authorities cannot direct them to expand their intake or offer more places to meet forecast high demand, as they can with maintained schools.

“Councils need to be allowed to open new maintained schools and direct academies to expand. It makes no sense for councils to be given the responsibility to plan for school places but then not be allowed to open schools themselves,” Bramble said.

“The government needs to work closely with councils to meet the challenges currently facing the education system.” …”

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/aug/26/england-school-places-shortage-made-worse-by-academies?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other