Packed Winter Gardens Meeting Hears Background To Closure

Report from the town clerk on last night’s meeting

Following last night’s public meeting to discuss the closure of the Winter Gardens, The Ventnor Town Council has published the following item on their Website. The VB report to follow later. Ed

Winter Gardens400 people packed the Winter Gardens Main Hall last night to hear Ventnor Town Council set out the reasons for its withdrawal from management of the facility and the consequent closure of it at the end of this month.

After Mayor Debby Robinson had outlined the programme for the evening, the Town Clerk gave a 30-minute presentation exploring the challenges the Town Council had faced since it took on the management of the Winter Gardens in 1994.

The presentation can be viewed or downloaded from the VTC Website.

The Mayor then invited questions about both past and future that took up the remaining 2 hours of the meeting. The questions reflected the passion many have developed for the Winter Gardens and its controbution to Ventnor’s life, its community organisations and its visitors.

Town Councillors responded openly and honestly, sharing the regret at even the temporary closure they hoped this would prove to be before opening again with new owners and a better resourced basis to work from.

The building’s owners, the Isle of Wight Council, are committed to working with the Town Council and will launch local and national adverts later this month inviting Expressions of Interest in the purchase of the building.

Both Councils are keen to see the future, more commercial, development of the Winter Gardens retain its 75-year inclusion of and service to Ventnor’s communities.

Thursday, 13th January, 2011 11:09am



Filed under: Isle of Wight News, Ventnor

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21 Comments on "Packed Winter Gardens Meeting Hears Background To Closure"

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1) most of the repair work that seems to be necessary appears to be the responsibility of the landlord (ie IW Council),there seemed to be a real defeatist attitude from the town councillors that they were not even going to bother pursuing the legal responsibilities that IWCC had to repair the building; 2) The town council have announced the building is to close, and then think they… Read more »

I beleive DavidG is volunteering to pay the £23,000 to the WG that the IOW Council have stopped paying, making this eventuality happen

One thing that was repeatedly said was that the IWCC has no money (for repairs or anything really). This reinforced the ‘Defeatist’ attitude. However, the IWCC may not in fact have money, but they sure as hell have an income, i.e. our council tax & any money (again from us) from central government! I am sure money can be allocated over the next few years to put… Read more »
steve s

Colin, with all due respect, it has NEVER belonged to us. The town has been a tenant in a building owned by the Isle of Wight Council.


Are these not Public Buildings owned by the community i.e. the tax/rate payers?

It seems to be the tail wagging the dog again.

Fight for what we want, there were at least 400 there last night not only the 80 respondents to the TC questinaire, who obviously are prepared to fight and/or pay more to keep it. Please listen to them & represent them/us properly.

There may have been 400 people there but they were probably all locals. Do you think that the rest of the council tax payers from other parts of the island will be happy for their money to be spent on the WG with such drastic cuts in council services across the whole of the island? I do think it is a very sad situation but I know… Read more »
Of course they were all locals! There were some from Ryde, some from Newport, one from Freshwater etc etc. Quite a lot from Ventnor, some from Shanklin even! All Isle of Wight locals. Of course we have to look at things, and keep perspective on what we want to save/keep, we are not stupid. But I think you may not be aware how wide an appeal the… Read more »
Christopher Bonney
David, I fully sympathise with the tone of frustration in your comment here. I recognise it from my own sentiments before I joined Ventnor Town Council. What has been difficult to transmit is that we have been through, or at least explored, all the hoops you suggest. Defeatist? Perhaps. We have come to accept that any solution does not include us, nor any other bureaucracy. It is… Read more »

Why has the Winter Gardens deficit significantly increased (and the charge to local council tax payers) over the past two years? Could it be that the VTC has been run by persons who have no idea of how to run a business, who have totally alienated staff and who have failed repeatedly to produce management accounts to enable the operation to be properly managed.


change the record.

steve s

I guess you were ‘too busy’ to make the meeting then?


Typical head in the sand attitude of VTC councillors who cannot, from the latest published figures, manage a business like the Winter Gardens. The Gazette summed it up very aptly a few weeks ago!

steve s

We agree on one thing, at least. The Town Council cannot, and never could, manage the Winter Gardens!
Come along for a meeting sometime… you might get a taste for it and I’m certain the council would be able to find some use for your enormous financial expertise!


well they are in good company then..because the the last bunch of idiots couldn’t either.

At least this bunch are honest


This would be true Steve …unless you actually had the support of all of Ventnor and they actually chose to attend the venue on a regular basis.

One bloke and twenty of his mates…is just 21 people having a good time…doesn’t make for good management

I beleive it is absolutely essential that items remain in the property at least the theatre/hall for anyone to at least contemplate taking the Venue on- especially if a community group is to be set up. I mean vtc may only get £1 for each chair there but to buy more would be much much more expensive. The meeting last night was difficult for many reasons 1.… Read more »

At least three ex-councillors spoke last night, Brain Lucas, Maureen Cawley & Graham Perks!

steve s

A request has been made to IWCC to delay selling off the contents until bids have been considered.


Yes they did and it was a very bad day for the Winter Gardens when perks left it, it really did. But. As any ex councillor how can they stand up and challenge the town council when they did nothing either leaving it to continue to fail,……..


Looked like a Witch-hunt at times, would make most people resign!


Nones so blind… can people still trott out this drivel about the previous operaters….