One of the issues raised to us after we broke the story of the Isle of Wight council’s plan to sell off Blackgang car park to ‘protect local tourism’, and their subsequent secrecy about the issue, was whether the council would even be able to sell the car park, as it had been the beneficiary of a grant from Rees Jeffreys Road Fund.
The thinking being, many bodies who distribute grants do so with a conditions that can affect its future use – like the Lottery did with its grant to construct the Visitor Centre at the Ventnor Botanic Garden – thus the sale of the Viewpoint car park might fall under that.
Back in May On The Wight contacted Brian Smith, the Fund Secretary at the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund to find out their views on the possible sale. Seeing the coverage in the CP this week reminded us to follow up on our original query.
Improvements to the car park
The grant was given many years ago to improve the attractiveness of the area around the car park, so travellers would be able to enjoy the view and was one of many grants the Isle of Wight received over the years.
He told On The Wight that the grant didn’t include any commitment to maintain it in the future, nor legal expectation that they might be consulted, or any thoughts that the Trust might have any say in the future about the use of the car park.
He added that he had spoken to the council about it, suggesting that it “might be nice to continue have the plaque” displayed at the site.