"The Future of Knowle" December 2014 and April 2016

J Woodward made this Freedom of Information request to East Devon District Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

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.

My request follows on from a new report from the Council on its relocation project, issued as part of the Agenda for Cabinet, Wednesday, 6 April 2016:
eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1622700/060416-combined-cabinet-agendasm.pdf

With reference to page 45 of the Agenda for Cabinet, Wednesday, 3 December 2014:
eastdevon.gov.uk/media/526937/031214-cabinet-agenda-public-version.pdf
and referring to the points under the heading "The Future of Knowle", I would be grateful if you could answer the following questions:

1: What funding allocation (capital receipt or otherwise) has the Council had over the last five years to cover the cost of essential repair works to its assets - that is to all of the assets which it is responsible for across the District?

2: What is the age of the former Exmouth Town Hall?

4: Has the Council put out separate tenders for different buildings or sections of the Knowle site?
Has the Council put out to tender any separate buildings or sections of the Knowle site to be retained and refurbished?
Could you supply the documentation providing the reasoning and calculations for any decisions on this tendering process. Thank you.

5: Elsewhere, I have made separate FOI requests to see the full bids for the Knowle site: these are still pending.
Nevertheless, in the context of this FOI request and the specific document to which it refers, could you provide me with the bids received which "make clear that to derive a meaningful capital receipt from the Knowle requires EDDC to leave." Thank you.

6: Exactly how are "suggestions that the Council can retreat to the 70s/80s blocks and derive a significant receipt from sale of the former hotel ... unviable?"
I would like access to the documentation which details how "the Council has considered the
possibility (including a reduced size of workforce) and found that it fails on the basis of cost,
lack of asset uplift in value and absence of market interest." Thank you.

7: Elsewhere, I have asked for clarification on the energy figures for Knowle.
Nevertheless, in the context of this FOI request and the specific document to which it refers, could you clarify exactly what the basis is for the figure of "annual energy costs of £83,900 pa" for Knowle? Is this the calculation for one year, or the average figure over a period?
I must apologise if you have indeed already provided me with this information; if so, I would be grateful if you could provide it once again. Thank you.
Does the "predicted energy cost for Honiton/Exmouth combined of £33,700 pa" still stand?
What are the calculations for the Council's energy costs for Knowle "even after repairs"?

8: Did the Council refer to Dept. of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) predictions for energy costs over the next 20 years when calculating "the total savings in running costs of Honiton/Exmouth over Knowle"?
Which figures and which website links did the Council use to make these calculations?

Thank you.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
Jeremy Woodward

East Devon District Council

Thank you for submitting a request for information. We will respond to your request as quickly as possible, within the 20 working day statutory deadline under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

For updates on this case, please quote your unique reference number 101000519442 .

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Customer Service Centre
East Devon District Council
Web: www.eastdevon.gov.uk

Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

Mr Woodward

We are currently working on this request and I have been asked to seek clarification from you on your first numbered point below. As it stands, the question is very broad and is likely to involve comment/information from almost every section of the council.

I wonder whether you could please clarify the information you are seeking here and perhaps be more specific about the type of asset you are interested in and also what you mean by "essential repair."

We will continue to collate the other information requested whilst we await your clarification.

Many thanks

Kate

Mrs Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

East Devon District Council

Dear Mr Woodward,

Thank you for your request for information. Please find the response to your query below.

1. We are awaiting clarification from you on this element of your request in order that we can provide you with the specific detail you want. As it currently stands, this is an extremely broad question which is likely to involve information from many different service areas of the council.

2. We have been through the deeds we hold for this building but are not able to establish its exact age. We understand it was converted into municipal offices following acquisition by the former Exmouth Urban District Council in the 1920s and the deed pack contains a plan referring to a "house" on the land dating back to 1871 but we do not hold definitive dating information.

3. This question seems to have been omitted from your request

4. There was an open marketing exercise for land at Knowle and Manstone - a copy of the marketing literature has been previously provided to you (11/1/16) I confirm that no further information is held with regard to this marketing exercise

5. Please see the report presented to Cabinet in December 2014 which outlines that none of the proposals received in response to the marketing exercise for the Knowle and Manstone sites included a specific employment use, nor was there any interest in retaining the existing buildings. http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/526937/031... (agenda item 11)

6. As above - no bidder expressed an interest in retaining any part of the site which demonstrates a lack of market interest. The information held in this respect is as above.

7. This information has been previously provided to you in the form of the Knowle energy use and maintenance report - this was provided on 21st October 2015. http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1228693/28...

8. A link to the DECC report can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistica... and further information is available from the report produced by Grant Thornton in terms of the council's cost assumptions. This report is available here http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/939266/110... (agenda item 12, app 2)

I hope this is helpful and we will await your clarification on point (1) should you wish to proceed with this element of the request.

If you feel dissatisfied with our response to your request, please contact our Monitoring Officer to request an internal review at [email address]

You may also approach the Information Commissioner for advice at www.ico.org.uk

Regards

Kate

Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

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Dear Ms Symington,

Thank you for your reply.

If I might clarify:

1) What funding allocation (capital receipt or otherwise) has the Council had over the last five years to cover the cost of essential repair works to its assets at its Knowle and Manstone sites in Sidmouth?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Woodward

East Devon District Council

Thank you for submitting a request for information. We will respond to your request as quickly as possible, within the 20 working day statutory deadline under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

For updates on this case, please quote your unique reference number 101000541012 .

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Customer Service Centre
East Devon District Council
Web: www.eastdevon.gov.uk

Dear Ms Symington,

Further to my detailed request of 9th April, I would like to follow up your answer of 3rd May to my question number 8:

"8: Did the Council refer to Dept. of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) predictions for energy costs over the next 20 years when calculating "the total savings in running costs of Honiton/Exmouth over Knowle"?
Which figures and which website links did the Council use to make these calculations?"

"8. A link to the DECC report can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistica... and further information is available from the report produced by Grant Thornton in terms of the council's cost assumptions. This report is available here http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/939266/110... (agenda item 12, app 2)"

The link to the DECC only provides the latest information - and not that used by the Council at the time it made its calculations:
“Overall the prices paid for all domestic fuels decreased by 3.7 per cent between March 2015 and March 2016”
“Domestic electricity prices, including VAT, fell by 0.3 per cent between March 2015 and March 2016. Domestic gas prices, including VAT, decreased by 6.1 per cent between March 2015 and March 2016.”
“The price of solid fuels decreased by 0.7 per cent between March 2015 and March 2016. There was a decrease of 9.2 per cent in the price of motor fuel and oil between March 2015 and March 2016.”
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistica...

This is clearly not the Dept. of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) documentation which was used by the Council when predicting energy costs over the next 20 years to calculate "the total savings in running costs of Honiton/Exmouth over Knowle".
> I would like access to the specific documentation from the DECC which the Council used when calculating energy costs over the 20 year period.

In the Grant Thornton report you provide links to, reference is made to consultations with the South West Energy and Environment Group (SWEEG) - http://emps.exeter.ac.uk/research/energy...
> I would like access to the specific documentation provided by the SWEEG at the time.

Furthermore, the Grant Thornton report stated that "External independent advice had been sought and, following review it was recommended that the Council should also consider incorporating the advised energy cost as identified within DECC’s Updated energy and emissions projections 2014, dated September 2014. Consequently, Grant Thornton included this update within their Model."
> I would like full access to the external independent advice, the energy cost as identified within the DECC's updated projections 2014 and Grant Thornton's own model.

Thank you.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Woodward

Dear Ms Symington,

Further to my detailed request of 9th April, I would like to follow up your answer of 3rd May to my question number 7:

"7: Could you clarify exactly what the basis is for the figure of "annual energy costs of £83,900 pa" for Knowle? Is this the calculation for one year, or the average figure over a period?
Does the "predicted energy cost for Honiton/Exmouth combined of £33,700 pa" still stand?
What are the calculations for the Council's energy costs for Knowle "even after repairs"?"

"7. This information has been previously provided to you in the form of the Knowle energy use and maintenance report - this was provided on 21st October 2015. http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1228693/28...

The Davis Langdon Report of June 2013 which you refer to gives a series of costs under Appendix A; rather confusingly, these are headed ‘Current Running Costs’ and yet the grand total is entitled ‘Total Annual Cost’.
To arrive at an ‘annual cost’, one would have to take an average across more than one year’s worth of ‘costs’; moreover, in any one year, whether ‘current’ or otherwise, the ‘cost’ figures might include a statistical outlier, which would be resolved by taking an average over a period of years.
Besides, ‘current’ is not the same as ‘annual’ by any stretch of semantics.
> In which case, could you confirm that Davis Langdon took only one year’s worth of ‘costs’ (April 2012 – March 2013) to arrive at their final calculation of ‘annual cost’; or was other statistical information taken into account to arrive at an ‘annual cost’?

In the Davis Langdon report’s Executive Summary, as part of the “current annual running cost at March 2013 base date”, the “energy costs are £75,070”.
> Could you “clarify exactly what the basis is for the figure of "annual energy costs of £83,900 pa" for Knowle?” In other words, could you please provide me with the exact calculations by which Davis Langdon arrived at the figure of £83,901 by March 2015?
> And could you provide me with the actual figure for energy costs as at March 2015?

The Davis Langdon report is now two years out of date.
> “Does the "predicted energy cost for Honiton/Exmouth combined of £33,700 pa" still stand?”

I would be grateful if you could provide answers to these questions.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Woodward

East Devon District Council

Dear Mr Woodward,

Thank you for your request for information. Please find the response to your query below.

You asked:
What funding allocation (capital receipt or otherwise) has the council had over the last five years to cover the cost of essential repair works to its assets at its Knowle and Manstone sites in Sidmouth?

Information is provided to you as follows:

Knowle council offices:
2011/12: £55,693
2012/13: £37,217
2013/14: £37,943
2014/15: £28,700
2015/16: £31,346

Manstone depot:
2011/12: £11,046
2012/13: £2,931
2013/14: £5,908
2014/15: £569
2015/16: £1,242

Please note that the above figures do not include employee costs or grounds maintenance services.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you feel dissatisfied with our response to your request, please contact our Monitoring Officer to request an internal review at [email address]

You may also approach the Information Commissioner for advice at www.ico.org.uk

Regards

Kate

Kate Symington
Information and Complaints Officer
East Devon District Council

01395 517417
www.eastdevon.gov.uk

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Dear Ms Symington,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of East Devon District Council's handling of my FOI request '"The Future of Knowle" December 2014 and April 2016'.

You have only answered one of my questions.

These inquiries still remain open:

> Could you confirm that Davis Langdon took only one year’s worth of ‘costs’ (April 2012 – March 2013) to arrive at their final calculation of ‘annual cost’; or was other statistical information taken into account to arrive at an ‘annual cost’?

> Could you clarify exactly what the basis is for the figure of "annual energy costs of £83,900 pa" for Knowle?” In other words, could you please provide me with the exact calculations by which Davis Langdon arrived at the figure of £83,901 by March 2015?
> And could you provide me with the actual figure for energy costs as at March 2015?

> “Does the "predicted energy cost for Honiton/Exmouth combined of £33,700 pa" still stand?”

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t...

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Woodward

East Devon District Council

Thank you for submitting a request for an internal review. We will respond to your request where reasonably possible, within the 20 working days.

For updates on this case, please quote your unique reference number 101000559964 .

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Customer Service Centre

East Devon District Council

Web: www.eastdevon.gov.uk

Henry Gordon Lennox, East Devon District Council

Mr Woodward,

 

Thank you for your email of 11^th June in which you have requested an
internal review of one of your previous requests entitled “The future of
Knowle”.

 

Your email raises a number of questions seeking clarification or
explanation of previously provided information.

 

The purpose of the internal review process is for me to determine whether
all information, within the scope of a request, has been provided and, if
not, whether any exemptions applied are consistent with the legislation
and guidance.

 

In the case of this request, we answered each of your numbered questions
by providing relevant information. 

 

We do not hold information which constitutes background papers to the
report produced by Davis Langdon. This company has now been fully taken
over by Aecom.

 

In terms of energy cost figures, you have previously been provided with
copies of bills and energy usage information covering the period in
question and we are not prepared to provide this information again. The
Information Commissioner’s decision of March 2016 concluded that our
approach to your previous requests about energy usage was reasonable and
that you had been provided with sufficient information.

 

I am satisfied that all information, within the scope of the request, has
been provided and we are under no obligation to add to this response in
order to explain the content of information held or to aid your
understanding of the documents provided. I am also not prepared to enter
into discussion about whether historic documents provided still stand as
valid and accurate today.

 

Should you remain dissatisfied with our response to your request, you may
refer this matter to the Information Commissioner [1]www.ico.org.uk

 

Yours sincerely,

 

HENRY GORDON LENNOX

 

Monitoring Officer

East Devon District Council

Tel: 01395 517401

Ext: 2601

Email: [email address]

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.org.uk/

Dear Mr Gordon-Lennox,
Thank you for replying to my request: unfortunately, I cannot find it provides adequate answers, particularly to questions 7 and 8.
You refer to the ICO: I shall be contacting them to ask for clarification.
Yours sincerely,
Jeremy Woodward