A paper going to the Property Disposal and Capital Programme Sub Committee next week reveals that John Metcalfe, Head of Economy and Tourism at the Isle of Wight council, believes the council is no longer able to exercise its ‘Buy back’ option for the Ventnor Winter Gardens.
Delays whilst planning permission for hotel sought
Grand plans for the venue were revealed when it was announced the Hambrough Group, which at the time was fronted by a Michelin Star chef, had won the bid.
The refurbishment of two restaurants, a modernised auditorium, a 37 bedroomed hotel and even a spa were promised.
It then took another 18 months for revised plans to be approved.
Option to purchase
Within the contract signed between The Hambrough Group and the council was an option allowing the council to buy back the building if they felt the new owner had not substantially completed the proposed refurbishment by July 2014.
The paper states,
The council is only able to exercise this option however if the owner of the building has not substantially completed the proposed refurbishment of the building in accordance with the agreed planning permission secured for the building.
Owner states £1.2m spent so far
The report states a council surveyor has now assessed the work carried out this year and is satisfied enough work has been completed with Phase 1 of the proposal submitted by the Hambrough Group.
In the summary of works completed, the owner, Kevin Sussmilch, claims £1.2m has been spent on the refurbishment of the building so far.
Unable to buy back
Members will be asked next week to ‘note’ that because of this finding, they are unable to exercise their option to buy the building back.
Full details are given in the paper below.