Ventnor Town Council’s clerk, David Bartlett, announced at Monday evening’s meeting that he’d written to Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, on behalf of the local council.
He wasn’t able to reveal the whole letter but explained that the thrust of it was to express concern at what the Ventnor Town Council considers the Isle of Wight council’s less than full-hearted embrace of the Localism Act.
Bid for Enterprise Hub rejected
It follows the IWC’s refusal to consider VTC taking over the Coastal Centre, an iconic Ventnor building with a rich heritage.
It was explained at Monday’s meeting that leader of the council David Pugh had been invited three times to meet with the Mayor and Clerk, but had not attended any meetings to discuss VTC’s plans to create an Enterprise Hub in the Coastal Centre.
Chief Executive of the council, Steve Beynon, has told the local council in no uncertain terms that the property would be put on the open market as soon as possible.
Contrary to Island Plan?
Some have questioned whether the IWC’s decision to sell the council-owned property on the open market is contrary to guidelines set out in the Island Plan Core Strategy which was adopted in March 2012.
Under the Social and Community Infrastructure section (DM7) it states:
The Council will only permit the loss of existing social and community infrastructure facilities, when it can be demonstrated that:
- a. the facility is no longer needed for its original purpose, or viable for any other community use; or
- b. if appropriate, an alternative facility will be provided in a location with at least an equal level of accessibility for the community it is intended to serve.
At Monday night’s meeting, councillors were informed that the Clerk and Mayor (Cllr Steve Stubbings) had met with IWC officers who ran through the alternative public buildings in the town for possible use by the VTC as an Enterprise Hub.
Cllr Stubbings confirmed that there were no specific proposals suggested or agreed.
We’ll let you know once the VTC have received a response from Mr Pickles.