WITH the possible sale of land at Heathpark Estate in Honiton, East Devon District Council’s Cabinet (meeting 2 April) has agreed to a review of the council’s provision of serviced business accommodation.
The land sale is likely to mean East Devon Business Centre may be replaced by a supermarket, subject to planning approval, so a review of the demand and supply of managed workspace will help inform future decisions on council support to small and medium sized businesses.
Councillor Ian Thomas, Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “The needs of small businesses are changing and there is also an increase in the availability of good quality private sector managed business units. This means that the possible sale of East Devon Business Centre offers an opportunity to consider how, as a council, we can best support our small and new businesses.
"This might include supporting and encouraging the private sector to invest in the towns of East Devon. A proper understanding of the demand for and nature of business accommodation is essential to ensuring we get the best value from our support of new and growing businesses and contribute effectively to a thriving East Devon economy.
Affordable “East Devon Business Centre provides flexible and affordable office accommodation for small businesses, in particular supporting new businesses that have difficulty in accessing investment. We now believe there is an increased enthusiasm from private investors to offer office accommodation to new businesses.
“Cabinet has agreed to support this review of demand for managed workspace and investigate ways to work with and encourage investment from the private sector. The East Devon Business Centre will continue to offer flexible accommodation to our local businesses while this work is completed. We will ensure that all our tenants are aware of our progress”.
Opened in 1998, East Devon Business Centre provides 20 office spaces as well as training and conference facilities. The Centre also offers practical support to small businesses through Business Information Point, West Devon Ltd. The East Devon Business Centre team manage this relationship and act as the primary contact and information source for local businesses.
The review is expected to be prepared for Cabinet to consider in the autumn.