Ventnor Coastal Centre: IW Council refuse nomination as Community Asset

The Strategic Manager for Economy, Tourism and Events informs Ventnor town council that the Coastal Centre will not be protected for future economic and community use. There is no right of appeal.

Coastal Centre

Readers will remember that the IWC last year refused to consider leasing the Ventnor Coastal Centre to the Ventnor Town Council (VTC) as part of the VTC’s plan to create an enterprise hub for new small businesses in the town to help regenerate the local economy.

Sell on the open market
Outgoing Chief Executive, Steve Beynon and Leader of the council, David Pugh, told the VTC they planned to sell the building on the open market asap.

The VTC subsequently nominated the building as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ under the ‘Community Right to Bid’ part of the Localism Act on 7 January 2013.

“Application unsuccessful”
This week, the VTC have received a response from the Isle of Wight council, who refuse to recognise the building would be of community benefit.

The reasons given for the decision are:

  • The previous use does not qualify as being of community value or facilitate/further social wellbeing
  • The proposed use does not qualify as being of community value or facilitate/further social wellbeing

Strong support from residents
Following a consultation in the town on the future of the Coastal Centre, a whopping 1,625 residents replied in favour of the building being saved as a Community Asset.

A report from Town Clerk, David Bartlett, says

As the letter from the Isle of Wight Council states, there is no right of appeal provided by the Localism Act, but it is clearly unacceptable that, given the spirit of the Act and the democratic nature of our society, the Isle of Wight Council should be able to reject such a strong case on the basis of its own decision-making without challenge.

The VTC will consider their response at Monday’s monthly meeting.

We’ll be contacting county councillors for Ventnor, Susan Scoccia and Chris Welsford for their views on the council’s decision.

The report
The report, which contains the refusal notice from the council as well as responses from residents (and can also be found on the VTC Website), is embedded below for your convenience.


Image: © Used with the kind permission of Richard ‘Tenspeed’ Heaven

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Thursday, 14th March, 2013 10:39am

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Filed under: Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Ventnor

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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72 Comments on "Ventnor Coastal Centre: IW Council refuse nomination as Community Asset"

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RTUC

The Ryde and East Wight Trades Council denounces the decision of the Isle of Wight Council as a travesty of justice.Salisbury Gardens belongs to the people of Ventnor regardless of the dubious transition of “ownership” to the IWC. The Trades Council supports the stand of the Ventnor Town Council in protecting public property.

Meursault
Seems like Pugh & Beynon are rewriting the past and ignoring the future to come to their conclusions. Was the Coastal Visitor Centre not considered ‘of community value’? Personally as a student I found it a great local resource and so did the many school visits they hosted. And moving forward how can an enterprise hub for small businesses not be of immense ‘community value’ to both… Read more »
septua

Part of the building was also used by the IW Natural History & Archaeology Society as offices and library for many years – definitely community use.

hussar

Another of the Junta’s 100% undemocratic decisions and, considering how close their demise is will they have time to sell it a at knock down price to their developer friends before they’re “ex councillors” ?

Bystander

As part of the response to this white wash the people of Ventnor could mount a campaign making it clear to any potential purchasers that they intend to boycott any business venture established following its sale.

tryme

Normally Pugherile makes great play of any number of dissenting voices being worthlessly small. I hope he has the maturity to be logical, & say how impressed he is with 1,625. (Doh, what am I thinking of….)

old bull

Family silver – flog it off. CX redundance to pay. Simples!

Tony Minx

I wasn’t aware that we were living in a Dictatorship on the Island until now!! What kind of Democracy exists here? If we were French, we would be manning the barricades and demonstrating in the streets! I wonder what Private Eye will say about all this!

steephilljack
I agree with comments above regarding protest or direct action over this total disregard for the wishes of Ventnor residents. As there can be no appeal, we have no other option. So, do we surround the building holding hands chanting “We want it now!” ? do we mount a protest at County Hall ? Do we refuse to pay our council tax bill which arrived today ?… Read more »
a person

I have to wonder why, if “The previous use does not qualify as being of community value or facilitate/further social wellbeing”, why was the place not closed years ago?

Clearly it was of massive community value, or the IWC were wasting our money keeping it open. I know which one I think is true

DRN

Strikes me that the press office is now peddling a possible shift in policy…..
Ventnor be afraid, your votes are clearly wanted now.
Call me cynical but stranger things have happened at sea

Ventnor Vintner
Am I the only person who is not sure that the Town Council’s plan for the building is the best use of this iconic building in a truly amazing location with stunning views? We live on a tourist Island and I have never been able to fathom why this amazingly located building was not a hotel or similar with a terrace restaurant just in front. I suggest… Read more »
Amanda BH

Why shouldn’t start-ups have the benefit of great views whilst they work?

Why should they be shoved up into an uninspiring industrial estate that stinks from the boat builder’s fumes?

tryme

See my comment below, Amanda BH!

tryme
I’ve never been into the building, & I suppose that if it were filled with start up private businesses I never might, which would be a shame, because there wouldn’t be public access, which I would like to be paramount. Perhaps new businesses should be too busy to enjoy the views! I wonder how much anyone beyond the owner of the` suggested hotel would benefit – would… Read more »
steephilljack

@ tryme: your suggestions for this building are much the same as those coming from the voluntary sector in the town.
There have been discussions with VTC where these ideas have been considered: heritage displays and art of the Undercliff, but we have to secure the building first !

tryme
Yes, steephilljack, we are being a bit previous to fight over what we will do with it! I didn’t see those displays, but was prompted by the initial post. It hadn’t before occurred to me that a start-up building, which sounds great as regards the purpose, would bar most of us from access as much as would purely private use like a block of flats. A thriving… Read more »
tryme

(not ‘initial post’, but Ventnor Vintner’s….)…

Ventnor Vintner
Who is going to run an Art Gallery? With the greatest respect to VTC they have not been able to run the Winter Gardens successfully in the past. I would be horrified to see them become art gallery managers. Why should the building become something that needs subsidy and support, costing the community fortunes in refurbishment and ongoing management when it could be a profitable private enterprise?… Read more »
Amanda BH

I thought those on the town council these days are not the same people who ran the winter gardens for years.

Ventnor Vintner
With regard to the benefit from it being a ‘destination hotel’ ask any shop keeper in Ventnor whether affluent tourists in the town makes a difference to thei business and the answer is a resounding YES. Local suppliers of goods and services would benefit. The farmers, butchers and grocers as well as brewers and wine merchants!!! The wage bill of such a business would be upwards of… Read more »
tryme

Other people will know better than me, but aren’t there one or two expensive hotels in west wight, & is the local economy of (say) Freshwater consequently booming?

tryme

…perhaps the vintners might be!

tryme

Why the building would be a great gallery? Any art lover would imagine the natural light is absolutely glorious; & the location conducive to creative thought & feeling…

Ventnor Vintner

Not sure I know enough to comment on the West Wight economy, but there is a luxury hotel in Yarmouth which employs plenty of people and buys local produce, adding to the local Yarmouth economy which is tragically blighted by the proportion of second homes.
Is there another expensive hotel over there? Farringford is no longer a hotel. Maybe the West Wight needs more luxury hotels!!!!! :-)

Meursault
VV – I agreed that it would make a fantastic hotel and terrace restaurant, and it may be the case that VTC take that view, dispose of it and reinvest the revenue in an alternative site in the Town. But the point is that decision should be down to the people of Ventnor and the proceeds/benefits of the sale should be retained by the Town, not hived… Read more »
tryme

Then, has specialised legal advice been obtained on the matter? (If so, it may not not be a good idea to say here what it is).

Meursault
Legally it seems VTC have attempted to follow the appropriate legal framework via the Community Right to Bid in the Localism Act 2011. The problem is that the legislation is fundamentally flawed as the final decision is taken by the Local Authority, the same body that is trying to sell the asset in the first place – and there is no right to appeal. So other than… Read more »
tryme
I suppose I was thinking more of a legal person looking at the way the IWC took over the property from VTC; & whether every step of procedure under the Localism Act has been taken in correct manner. I pop up & say this here now & then, but Judicial Review can become relevant. (Interesting that my asking if legal advice has been taken incurs 2 reds!)… Read more »
Ventnor Vintner
Have I missed something? VTC have nothing to do with this decision. They do not own the building. All they do is rent a few rooms there. IWC will sell it and pump the proceeds into the black hole of their finances. With the location of the building it is most likely it wil be bought by developers and turned into luxury flats which will be bought… Read more »
Ventnor Vintner

2 negatives already!!! (after 6 minutes) Can those who dislike what I am saying please tell me what they think would be right for the building. It might be a constructive debate.

Beer lover

A rather ill-informed comment. Second home owners currently pay 90% council tax and from April will pay 100% council tax.

Might be a good idea to get your facts right before spouting off.

Ventnor Vintner

Fair enough. It was being discussed on the radio recently and I must have misunderstood. I see councils have discretion to allow discounts of 10- 50% and on the IOW it is 10 %. My mistake. I believe this may soon be changed though.

Beer lover

Have you forgotten that the Winter Gardens is being developed into a luxury hotel?

With VWG, The Hambrough, Hillside and The Royal, all of whom will be battling for customers in an economic downturn, do you really think there would be enough business to sustain them, as well as yet another luxury hotel?

Ventnor Vintner

With the right product in that location I think it could do very well.

I would like to view it as an opportunity to bring more visitors to Ventnor at the expense of hotels in other towns.

Ventnor Vintner
I agree 100%. It would be great if it was Ventnor’s decision, but it is not, it is IWC. It would be great if the proceeds of the sale could be used for facilities to add to the life, community and economy of Ventnor….but they will not, I expect. Would you have described the Winter Gardens as ‘the family silver’. Its accounts prove it to have been… Read more »
Ventnor Vintner

Meursault….Love your name! Do you want any? ;-)

Meursault

Although sharing a french connection you are more likely to find me under the blistering Algerian sun than in the Burgundy region of France :)

Stewart Blackmore
Here’s an idea. The Island is a tourist destination and the IW College has a reputation for training people to be hospitality professionals, so the Coastal centre would make an excellent training hotel for our young people. It could become a fully functioning centre of excellence, under the banner of the College, giving our young people an excellent foundation in hospitality skills: cooking, front of house, back… Read more »
steephilljack

Great idea Stewart, but who would own the building in this case ?

Ventnor Vintner
Great idea….. Which already happens on the IOW and also in Ventnor already to an extent. The Albert Cottage Hotel is owned by the lady who owns HTP training and is a great training environment for her students. At the Royal the kitchen usually has a high number of apprentices in the kitchen. It happens IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR ALREADY. It is never going to happen in… Read more »
tryme

As noone has responded here whether specialist legal advice has been obtained on the whole matter, I trust it means someone is keeping it up their sleeve. I would have thought a professional would have offered it or been approached.

Don’t accept off-putting legal advice from IWC or friends!

bob

Its Saturday and you only asked a few hours ago. Quite why the VTC would respond to you here on a Saturday is beyond me, but if you really are expecting them to then at least give them a chance.

tryme
Hey bob, you mistook my tone, I wasn’t being grumpy! I was taking into account that I had mentioned legal advice several times before now & it wasn’t taken up, so it wasn’t just the last couple of hours I’d been wondering about it. If anyone ever does respond to me about anything, I’m grateful & pleased! I thought there would be quite a few people who… Read more »
tryme

By ‘a professional …approached’ I meant that a solicitor has probably been consulted, one way or another, (& not that I myself expected to be approached).

DavidBartlett
Apologies for being distracted by six nations! Comments on this have been for me an interesting addition to the consultation VTC has been conducting over the last month. Appreciated. It’s perhaps worth adding in response to the comments that VTC is not wedded to one particular future for the Coastal Centre: the Business Hub with which we opened was a specific attempt to access last year’s Coastal… Read more »
Ventnor Vintner
Hi David, Good to have your fact based input. Apologies for not having my input in a more official form earlier. I picked up a form but…… Has the private ownership hotel idea been looked at / proposed? If so with what response? If a town centre location is required for various facilities required by public service, was the NHS site next to the Post office considered?… Read more »
bob
“past Ventnor residents have already paid for this building through its 1945 purchase by Ventnor Urban District Council (£6,100 then, £395,000 at today’s prices)” Ventnor Urban District Council became part of the IoW council. Never mind “moral rights of ownership”, the building is legally owned by the IoW council on behalf of ALL the people on the island. They had a go at letting VTC run a… Read more »
Janet Scott

Somewhat harsh Bob.

Ventnor Vintner

Who was responsible for the management, maintenance and upkeep of the building in the last 20 years?

Ventnor Vintner
Bob, I can agree with much of what you say, but: Why would Ventnor Town Council propose a centre for start up businesses in order to encourage local development and build enterprise in Ventnor and then site it in NEWPORT????? You are missing the point. The reason for retaining the building (which I believe is misguided) is to provide services and a hub for businesses IN VENTNOR.… Read more »
bob
Janet – harsh, but true. the building is owned by the IWC on behalf of all islanders. VTC does not have any right to ownership. VV – Why should someone from Cowes have to travel all the way to Ventnor to benefit from a business hub? It should be sited in Newport so it can serve ALL islanders. It should be located in a public building so… Read more »
Ventnor Vintner
It appears you have missed the point and the function and purpose of the business hub, Bob. Please see the link to the business plan for the business hub here: http://www.ventnortowncouncil.org.uk/publications.php?dir=coastal centre development&by=date&order=asc THe hub is a location for start up businesses to promote business development in Ventnor. It is not some kind of advice facility for Island-wide businesses. It is a local plan to encourage local… Read more »
bob
the 2 words I have a problem with are “in Ventnor”. A facility like this should benefit the entire island, not just ventnor for ventnor. Therefore it should be located in newport, or even have a branch in every major island town to benefit all islanders. However, what disturbs me the most is that VTC has said, in the comment above, that they are considering several options.… Read more »
Janet Scott
David. Thank you for putting us ‘in the picture’ and for the work you are doing re;Coastal Centre. Unfortunately I think your second paragraph says it all, I don’t wonder why, as by then (stage 1) I think they already had a buyer. It seems, to me, that Messrs Pugh, Beynon etc; are too damned arrogant to ever listen to any alternative view to their opinion. Why… Read more »
peaceful_life

It seems (somewhat) agreed that the building does belong to the people of the island.

Question……why then……is it to be sold?

DRN
Blimey the press office have been busy since I last posted – overtime or borrowed time eh? They were even talking to themselves for most of the time, peddling platitudes and backslapping, to keep the story going and get their masters messages out. I did warn that they were on the offensive, look thru VV, bob and co and they stand out a mile. Back to the… Read more »
tryme

DRN – you earlier said the Council is “peddling a possible shift in policy”. They still mean to sell it, so what is the shift?

bob

DRN, stop spouting paranoid drivel. Just because someone has a different opinion to your own does not mean they work for the council comms department. Still, nothing like a paranoid conspiracy theory to make some people feel justified in having a moan is there now.

Ventnor Vintner
Hey DRN, Bless you!!!! You seem to think I work for the IOW press office. Actually my username gives it away. I am a wine merchant in Ventnor. I have an opinion which is contrary to that of many in Ventnor and we have had some interesting exchanges on here. It appears you see conspiracies around every corner. Do you really think the IOW press office could… Read more »
tryme

I don’t know why you would say the press office couldn’t be bothered to post here, VV. As nefarious activities go, that would be pretty basic.

We know Beynon has been very annoyed by OTW commenting, & I am reliably told that OTW unaccountably freezes when attempts are made to access it from council desktops.

DRN

Ooouucchh! That hit a nerve;, there, there, then.
Who said that, am I hearing things?

bob
hit a nerve? no, just made me realise how utterly paranoid and moronic some people are on here. If you seriously think the comms department bothers to post on here, let alone under a pseudonym, then you really do need to see a doctor and get your mental state looked at. Or is it just a way to try and undermine anyones opinion which does not agree… Read more »
tryme

Why so over-the-top belligerent & personal, bob?

bob

perhaps it often seems like the only way to get through to certain people on here, even if it is exactly the kind of reaction they want.

Ventnor Vintner
Hey Bob, Funny you should say that…. I was wondering how to get you to understand that if VTC want to set up a business hub in Ventnor (a centre for new local Ventnor businesses)they should be applauded for trying to do the best for their town. All the business hub is is effectively serviced offices based in Ventnor. Ventnor needs jobs. Badly!!! Why do you want… Read more »
bob
I understand completely the point you are making VV. I simply disagree with it. I think the business hub should benefit all island small businesses, not just those in ventnor. Locating it in ventnor will hinder all island businesses from accessing it. I also think that VTC is more interested in trying to take over the building than it is in actually starting a business hub. None… Read more »
Stacey De O'Bvious

You really need to get a bit more practiced at this.

If you’re trying to pretend to post as someone that isn’t you, don’t fall into the rookie mistake of claiming to know what actions that person or body might or might not carry out.

bob
grow up. any person with the slightest amount of common sense knows full well that the comms dept have better things to do with their time than post on here, such as the jobs they are paid for. But why bother saying any of this? some people would rather beleive the worst regardless of the facts staring them in the face. i’m off back to the real… Read more »
steve s

Bob,
Upon what do you base your suggestion that VTC is ‘more interested in trying to take over the building than it is in actually starting a business hub’?

Do you know something the rest of us don’t know?

tryme

I would like DRN to tell me what s/he meant about “a shift in policy”

DNR

Has anybody found bob’s dummy yet?
Perhaps it’s in the wine shop in south wight?

Desperation springs to mind…..

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