Ventnor Botanic Garden: Entry Fee Planned

John Curtis, the preferred bidder to take over the Ventnor Botanic Garden, explained last night that they intend to charge an entrance fee in order to keep the Garden going. Podcast interviews to follow later this morning.

John Curtis, the preferred bidder to take over the Ventnor Botanic Garden and his wife, Mylene, presented their ideas for the Garden last night to a packed public meeting.

John and Mylene CurtisAfter explaining that the Garden has a shortfall each year of around £250,000, Mr Curtis, who described himself as someone who fixes companies, told the audience that they intend to charge an entry fee to the Garden.

No fencing would be placed around the Garden and it would not be policed, with 5-8% ‘revenue leakage’ (ie. people going in without paying) being expected each year.

No parking charge for those paying entrance
Rather than expect visitors to pay for entry and parking, car parking charges for those paying entry would be abolished.

John explained that from 25 Botanic Gardens he had looked at only two didn’t charge an entrance, with those being run by local councils and, he suggested, possibly on the brink of financial problems.

Covenant issues dismissed
There didn’t appear to be much reaction to the suggestion of an entry charge, with several people during question time showing support for it.

During previous public meetings, the issue of a covenant protecting the land from an entry charge had been raised.

Phil Le May, Chair of the Friends of the VBG explained that the council’s legal department had looked into this and denied there would be any legal problems with charging entry.

The lease is expected to be signed after Easter.

More to come later this morning including interviews with head gardener Chris Kidd and John Curtis.

Tuesday, 13th March, 2012 8:09am



Filed under: Business, Isle of Wight News, Ventnor

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15 Comments on "Ventnor Botanic Garden: Entry Fee Planned"

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O Whatley

Who has the revenue currently from the parking charges ?

Old Knobby

What about all the public footpaths that pass through it, including the coastal path? I thought there was also a covenant on it that said entry fees couldn’t be charged?


This was a very positive meeting where the new team outlined an exciting educational based future for the garden. There are a lot of challenges to be overcome, but there was tremendous goodwill from the 150 or so people attending. I am sure there will be many knockers to the venture and those who creep in without paying, but society always has this problem with anything worthwhile.

Bob Bowden

Well said Bluey! The voice of reason – thank you.

L Pinkerton

Presumably it will cease to be the main parking area for Steephill Cove with a significant loss of income.

Polka Dot
The question was asked about the footpath and coastal path… will these still be available. Ive used these all the years ive lived in Ventnor. I resent this remark… “I am sure there will be many knockers to the venture and those who creep in without paying,”… Once i used to walk.. now i creep ? not so. If the footpath through the gardens remains, i shall… Read more »
This question was asked, and the reply was that the garden would not be policed and would be run on an honesty basis. Those people who gain enjoyment and benefit from the garden, and the big investment in its improvement, would be expected to pay the fee. I guess those only walking along to top coastal footpath are not effectively “users” of the garden and would be… Read more »

doomed to failure then…fence the areas where public footpaths cross the garden..charge a proper enterence fee and run the place properly for once and maybe just maybe in 5 years time Ventnor will still have its Botanic Gardens

Polka Dot
the footpath is clearly demarked, and fencing , albeit waist high, is already in situ. do we really want high railing ? that would mean railing from the cricket club grounds, because its all open to access if one wished.. all the way round to the orchard bay side of the gardens. Just charge and entrance fee fullstop. leave the path. its local knowledge of it anyway,… Read more »

Giving a free parking fee to those who pay an entrance for the garden is somewhat a good idea. The fencing should be improve so that local people will not abusively enter without paying. In this way, the botanical garden will be preserved well.

Old Knobby

Local people aren’t abusing it by entering without paying – it was given to and belongs to us all and wasn’t the council’s to give away to a private company. I certainly won’t be paying to walk along the coastal path or any of the other public footpaths that pass through it.


if it was given to us, then it is time for us to start paying for its upkeep

Old Knobby

We already do (or did), through our council tax plus parking charges if we used the car park. That the council chooses to spend it elsewhere is another issue…