Sale of former District Council HQ in Sidmouth completes

PegasusLife (now known as LifeStory) is now officially the owner of Knowle, East Devon District Council’s former headquarters in Sidmouth.

On 14th January, East Devon District Council received the outstanding money for the purchase of the Knowle site. The full purchase price to be paid was £9,019,605 and so having already received a deposit of £375,250, the council received the balance of the sum, amounting to £8,644,355.

In addition the council also accepted a sum of approximately £38,000 as a penalty for the late payment.

The original sale price of Knowle was £7,505,000 and the final purchase price represents a circa £1.5m or 20% increase in capital receipt to the council on top of the original price. This reflects negotiations that have secured for the council an indexation factor, somewhat like inflation, as well as a proportion of monies PegasusLife originally set aside for developer contributions in the planning process, but which were not ultimately required.

The developer had been under contract to make full payment by 18th December 2019, but failed to meet that deadline. This prompted the council to bring legal proceedings to secure the agreed and contracted payment as well as seeking associated costs and damages.

PegasusLife responded at the time to say that they expected to secure funds and that they would be in a position to make the payment by 14 January 2020.

East Devon is pleased that PegasusLife has now made full payment and taken ownership of the site. The council understands that PegasusLife will make security arrangements for the site going forward and wishes PegasusLife every success with their future plans.

This is an important outcome for East Devon. Relocation from Sidmouth to modern and flexible office spaces in Honiton is a key part of the council’s commitment to smarter working, energy efficiency, excellent customer service and being fit for purpose and fit for the future.

In March 2020 the council will consider a full project closure report, which will review the first year after leaving Knowle and full operation of the council’s new build and modernised offices.