The Isle of Wight council’s regeneration team have refused to provide a reassurance for Sandown residents that the land Brown’s Golf Course is on will not be part of a deal for the new investment partner of Dinosaur Isle.
The 2018 delegated decision papers in relation to Dinosaur Isle show that the land occupied by Brown’s, as well as the studios for Arc Consulting, Artecology and Ecclestone George, is owned by the Isle of Wight council but on a long lease to the Isle of Wight Zoo.
Concerns have been raised by residents in Sandown that the upcoming deal for Dinosaur Isle could result in that land being used to extend the offer for the investment partner.
OnTheWight sought a reassurance from Regeneration Director, Chris Ashman. A spokesperson for the council replied on his behalf,
The procurement exercise the council is undertaking is focused on the Dinosaur Isle site and securing a sustainable future for the collection and the museum facility.
As part of the brief, bidders were asked how their proposals might support the wider regeneration of the Culver Parade area. The exercise is being operated as a dialogue with interested parties and any requests by bidders to extend the scope of the project would need to take full account of any existing or historic uses in the Culver Parade area.
The dialogue discussions with bidders need to remain confidential until a preferred partner is identified and with their agreement further detailed discussions, potentially involving other stakeholders, can take place before a final agreement is reached.
OnTheWight looked hard at this statement, read it several times, but could find no reassurance.
So we asked for a response that a person on the street could understand, as to whether the site that Brown’s Golf Course, etc are on is at risk of being included in the Dinosaur Isle deal.
At the moment we are unable to offer any further comment.
Mayor refused to send letter voicing concern
At this week’s Sandown town council meeting, a request by Cllr Paddy Lightfoot to send a letter to the Isle of Wight Council voicing concern over the future of Browns Golf Course was turned down by the Mayor, Cllr Gary Young.
As reported by Paul Coueslant on Sandown Hub Facebook Group (which includes a video of the debate), Cabinet member and Sandown South Councillor, Ian Ward, “didn’t want obstacles put in the way of investment in the town”, saying,
“We are very attached to it, not like some people who just arrived in Sandown and all of a sudden want to talk about our heritage…but also we want to see Sandown move forward.”
Some Sandown councillors also concerned
Paul also reported that Sandown North Councillor, Debbie Andre, said she’d spoken to Chris Ashman about fears in the town, saying,
“I did make it absolutely 100% clear to him that both Browns and the PLUTO shed are held in very, very high esteem.
“It’s part of our heritage in Sandown and residents feel very strongly that they want that protected.”