The Ventnor Winter Gardens, bought for £1, can now be sold on

OnTheWight has discovered that the person who bought the Winter Gardens from the Isle of Wight council for just £1, can now sell the venue on, if he wishes.

Winter Gardens visualisation

Above: A computer generated image. The plans presented during the bidding process for the Winter Gardens included details of a 38 bedroom luxury hotel.


The Ventnor Winter Gardens, which was sold by the former Conservative Isle of Wight council to the Hambrough Group for £1, can now be sold on if the owner, Kevin Sussmilch, wishes.

The Hambrough Group was selected as the preferred bidder for the iconic Ventnor venue back in 2011. Following a period of planning applications, the sale for £1 was then completed in January 2013. It re-opened in Spring 2014.

Sale possible
A spokesperson for the council told OnTheWight,

The initial 18-month period for the council to re-purchase the Winter Gardens, if it desired, has now expired and the owners are able to put it on the open market if they wish.

Stubbings: Possible regrets
Ventnor councillor Steve Stubbings was one of those on the selection panel choosing the preferred bidder.

Given that what was presented in the bid process – a hotel – has not materialised, we asked Cllr Stubbings, “Do you now regret voting in favour of giving the green light for the Hambrough Group to take over the Winter Gardens?”

He replied,

“Knowing what we know now, quite possibly.”

Stubbings: Promises have not been delivered
We also asked, “If you had your time again, would you vote against them having it?”

He replied,

“Clearly, what was promised at the interview has not transpired. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.”

Council didn’t act
If what was ‘promised’ at the interview has not transpired, many people OnTheWight have spoken to wanted to know why the Isle of Wight council did not challenge this when they could.

OnTheWight raised it with them and Cllr Jon Gilbey (the Executive member in charge) in the run up to the 18 month deadline, but never received a satisfactory answer.

Public use covenant has another seven years
If the Hambrough Group do decide to sell the venue, it’s important to understand there are restrictions on the venue in place until 2022.

The council spokesperson clarified,

Any new owner must abide by the following covenants until 2022, which are:

  1. To use the auditorium for arts, cultural, educational and entertainment activities and for no other purpose;
  2. To make the auditorium available daily on commercial terms between 10am and 10pm for use by local community groups and organisations for not less than 26 weeks per calendar year; and
  3. To manage and run a box office or reception area at the property at all reasonable times

The user agreement applies for the 10 years and after that the owners may submit a planning application if they wish, but any application would follow the usual planning process.

Thursday, 16th July, 2015 8:48pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2dhG

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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85 Comments on "The Ventnor Winter Gardens, bought for £1, can now be sold on"

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CB500

Be interesting to see if KS has the bare faced front to sell it on. I’m guessing yes. As for Stubbings I wouldn’t trust him to run a pub raffle. A quid for the Winter Gardens, £100K for the Cheetah site, a £350K toilet and a £100K a year subsidy for a white elephant harbour. The local councillors have done Ventnor proud…..

steve s

I didn’t sell the Winter Gardens, anonymous, I merely sat on the panel that unanimously selected the best bid. I was, however, actively involved in the retention of Salisbury Gardens for the community. Neither I, nor Ventnor Town Council, had any control over the other matters you mention above.

davimel

I don’t think the need is there for the mass “Nowt to do with me Guv” just yet Steve… But the time will surely come when ALL the stupid Barney McPugh decisions will be looked upon as the worst debacle in the Islands history and will be Toxic to anyone who had any involvement no matter how small.

CB500
That’s a crock Steve. You got blinded by the big promises along with the rest of them and you didn’t seem to give a monkeys about what the locals actually wanted. You’re one of the main ‘independents’ now – You had the power to step up and take the WG back but you rolled over and laughably accepted the scheme as ‘substantially’ completed. The £100K harbour subsidy… Read more »
steve s
CB Hindsight is great, isn’t it? I take full responsibility for voting the way I did at the time and, as I’ve said before, if presented with the same information I’d vote that way again. The works required under the terms of the contract were ‘substantially’ completed. The harbour contract is one you might like to investigate further before you talk about it being ‘in our power… Read more »
CB500

Go on then Steve tell us what was substantially completed? The hotel part? The new auditorium? The restaurant?
Are you telling me that The Council don’t write the cheques to the harbourmaster?
I’ll give you Salisbury Gardens but it’s a pretty minor achievment when placed against all the other injustices served up to the people of Ventnor.

steve s

CB
I didn’t say that the works were substantially completed, I said that the works required under the contract were substantially completed.
Of course the Council pays the harbourmaster but you have to look at that contract to see why we’re in the place we are.
I appreciate your comment about Salisbury Gardens.

Stewart Blackmore
Leaving other matters aside, CB500 (possibly not your real name), Salisbury Gardens is not just a nice office for the Town Clerk – although it is a nice office – it is home to several businesses which have relocated to Ventnor and are paying rent to to Ventnor Town Council. In addition it is soon to be home to the local community-based police service, which would otherwise… Read more »
CB500

You public official types ( and wannabees ) seem obsessed with my anonymity. That’s the joy of not standing for election I guess. Can we get to see the figures for this paragon of local government? Struggling to take anybody in office at their word these days.

The Sciolist

CB500 they ALWAYS want to know who we are rather than concentrate on the message. It’s an excellent reason why local authorities should never be allowed surveillance powers. They would only abuse them.

Cicero
@Sciolist- Local Authorities already have surveillance powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000. (Some have used it to observe and fine the non-pooper-scoopers that are obviously a threat to national security!) “Local authority use of RIPA Local authorities have a wide range of functions and are responsible in law for enforcing over 100 separate Acts of Parliament. In particular local authorities investigate offences in… Read more »
Cicero

“1984” is alive and well in Newport today.

fedupbritain

why cant town clerk work from home? why does he/she need a shiney new office?

gibson

So all the occasions we came to Town Council meetings you, all of you, didn’t get the message we were trying to tell you?

I am so disappointed that it seems to be panning out the way I expected!

I said at the time, if it goes the way I expect, can I have first option on the Penthouse Appartment please?

Just wondering

… if the “Council Spokesperson” would also kindly clarify how the three covenants are being monitored and what are the consequences of them not being adhered to?

Just wondering

…whether the “Council Spokesperson” has had time to consider this question as, judging by the up arrows, I am not the only one to be wondering this! Just in case he/she has not seen it (or has been diverted by the subsequent posts from our resident philosophers) I am wondering if you could pose the question officially to said Spokesperson on our behalf please Sally?

The Sciolist

Another triumph for our brilliant councillor’s and officers.

Pass the sick bag.

Victor Meldrew

Fair play to Onthewight for publishing this. Have any IOW Councillors raised concerns regarding this dreadful situation. What with the undercliff debacle poor old Ventnor seems to be getting the sharp end of the stick from IOW Council.

Glenn millmore
Your all full of s**t and the council are curpet that’s why all these places have been given the green light as far as the the wintergardens it’s a money pit why else would the council sold it for a quid and as far as local people having to use the auditorium well I haven’t seen anyone wanting to use it as long as if is for… Read more »
mywifesheelsare2high

Hold on a minute wasn’t it Pughs gang who sold it for a quid as well as with many other property give aways .

Cicero

…. is the apparently failing VBG next in line for a quick sale?

76offset

Surprisingly only one mention of Ventnor Botanic Gardens, which I understand is on its way to dereliction. Another irresistable development opportunity. This all just a tiny snippet of the situation nationally. A Massive and continuing heist enacted at political level.

Just wondering

….whether folk realise that – yes, it was under Pugh’s watch that the Winter Gardens was sold for £1 but… the Panel (that bids were presented to and made the decision) included two Ventnor Councillors (one of whom was our then Mayor, the then CC for Ventnor West and Ventnor’s Town Clerk was also there in an “advisory” capacity.

davimel

and when it comes to planning for the demolition and block of flats,, who will have the last say I wonder?

David Bartlett
Steve Stubbings was indeed one of the two VTC Councillors on that Panel but as the interviews were on a 4 April 2011 Steve Stubbings was not then County Councillor for Ventnor West. Susan Scoccia was at that time the County Councillor for Ventnor West and she was a member of the IoWC section of the Panel along with officers Alex Minns, Barry Cooke and John Metcalfe.… Read more »
Just wondering

Thank you for clarifying my comment. I forgot to close brackets after “Mayor” which made it read as if Steve was also CC for Ventnor West at the time. Apologies to all concerned and anyone who might of been mislead by my comment.

Debby Robinson
To clarify further: The two Ventnor Town Councillors who sat on the panel were Steve Stubbings and Jim Toogood. I was the Mayor of Ventnor at the time but was not able to sit on the panel as one of the bidders was known to me personally. Regardless of who my friends might be, I was totally against the Hambrough bid from the very start. Robert Thompson… Read more »
sam salt

Well said that woman.

Mark Francis

Anyone else a fan of Bargain Hunt? Looks like the Blue team are the runner up today.

I ‘ll give you £2 – that’s the death on this…

Chris

This is tragic. Why is the Council so good at getting so many things wrong.

davimel
I think the outcome is very obvious.. I have been posting about this particular debacle since Barney Mcgrew sold us out, and to date the only surprise about the site was that he actually got students to do his donkey work, and has spent next to nothing, done nothing without a push and now he will be allowed to flog it off at a MASSIVE profit. If… Read more »
The Sciolist

Entertainment? Be fair, we had UB40 didn’t we – lots of the ticket holders couldn’t get in.

davimel

True Sciolist..Very true. They were queuing almost to the Co-Op and what a fabulous (lost) chance to re-launch the place!
But where are the summer spectaculars, weekly fun nights even pensioners Bingo! The Winter Gardens were MADE to entertain tourists and locals,,, instead it has entertained us here at OTW as we watch the inevitable. Bit like watching the Titanics’ maiden voyage, with todays hindsight.

The Ancient Matelot

No surprise there. As I have said before, successive Isle of Wight Councils have clearly demonstrated that they could not run a picnic for rabbits in a lettuce patch!

Ian Brownlow
i get the impression the current owners are either pretty incompetent, or deliberately keeping The Winter Gardens in a moth balled state, possibly so they can justify a change of use. The UB40 concert was a mess, and the Carpenters Tribute and the Dance event were both cancelled for reasons unknown. As a day to day facility, the bar is soulless, and there does not seem to… Read more »
milly
It’s alright you lot complaining but I didn’t see any of you standing for the Council. the money has been CUT didn’t you know? By your Tory Government. There are only a couple of the old Councillors, still around, that can share responsibility for closing the Winter Gardens. We, the public, didn’t do enough to try and prevent the WG or the VBG being sold off. How… Read more »
Cicero

Remind me Milly- which party was it you stood for yourself? :-))

Mark Francis

Where did this idea come from that you have to stand for office to post on this site?

Mike Vallender

MF it is not an idea but appears to be alongside many of the comment topics raised becoming standard practice since prior to the General Election for this to be the case.

Many of the responses regarding articles and topics seem to be targeted put downs of those contributing and expressing opinions that might be different to current political opinion.

Cicero

“Current political opinion” usually has a very short shelf-life! :-))

davimel

Quite true, but if your opinion is based in fact they can’t say anything without looking both foolish and a tad ‘shady’. We all know that image is everything to Politicians and pseudo politicians but it is the silence of some of our representatives that says more about protecting their image rather than showing support.

Mike Vallender
Cicero that might be, so but current political opinion is also exclusive of the general public who might wish to add valuable content. If this site is becoming progressively politically biased and driven I would just ask that people in general would be listened to and have their views taken into consideration at least. :-( :-) Because people have been elected to positions of responsibility does not… Read more »
Cicero
Agreed! However national politics is drifting towards the state in which criticism is either dissuaded, quashed and/or political revisionism employed to deny the criticism. Now where has that been the case before in the last century…..? :-)) The Internet is (currently) the only place such criticisms can be made- and that is likely to be curtailed by draconian legislation in the not too distance future- i.e. “Remember… Read more »
Mike Vallender

davimel that is valid comment but too often recently, as I have said previously, comments appear to becoming more about I rather than representation of the voices and opinions of the peoples and communities they are there to serve.

Mike Vallender
Cicero what a way to respond with a load of gobbledigook :-) I am not writing about an uprising of the common people against those with apparent but misplaced and misadventured political power or wishing to rule and govern by impoverishment. On any one given topic there are likely to be multiple variations of opinion and experience. Let people explore, understand and gain experience from those and… Read more »
Cicero
Was I not agreeing with you Mike? Theoretically at least, it is possible to turn the ubiquitous electronic communication devices that most people have these days (maybe provide them free to those who do not) into immediate electronic referendum voting mechanisms. In that decisions on governance would direct reflect the wishes of the electorate. It won’t happen for some time because: the security is not good enough,… Read more »
Cicero

Oh Mike- I forgot- which part of my gobbledy-gook would you like me to explain? :-))

Mike Vallender

Ciceroyes you were and that was appreciated but please, please please keep to lay mans English as it feels like you are putting my head into outer space with the conversion to easy talk :-)

Mike Vallender

Cicero where do I begin ? mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm lets start the very beginning etc etc :-)

I understood what you said but there is simplistic, understandable, advanced and outer galactic :-)

Cicero
Seeing you ask so nicely Mike, here is a translation comprising (sorry- made up of) more simple words. :-)) “However national politics is drifting towards the state in which criticism is either dissuaded, quashed and/or political revisionism employed to deny the criticism.” = Our rulers, left or right do not like to be slagged off and will prevent it. Now where has that been the case before… Read more »
Mark Francis

Also it is important to remember that Bentham was designing a Prison here – not a country.

Mike Vallender

Cicero very elegantly and eloquently illustrated and described.

You might believe I was being pernickety but there is subtle and clear definition between sense, nonsense and common sense also.

All generations are at varying stages of their education, knowledge and experience and therefore clarity is essential and appreciated.

Cicero

True Mike! However, if one writes at the lowest common denominator for understanding, it loses the nuances that underlie all politics. Would one read the Sun or the broadsheets for an understanding of the EU or the Greek crisis?

(BTW Mark- wasn’t Bentham’s utilitarianist philosophy about building a utopian state rather than just a prison?)

Cicero
Bentham’s said “Preventing indigence is still better than relieving it’” and “In many instances an irresistible propensity to drunkenness, an irresistible propensity to debauchery, an utter incapacity of taking thought for the morrow, may like idiocy and other specie of insanity, of which they may be regarded as modifications, be considered as constitutional infirmities” These sound remarkably like those being currently used as excuses for the proposed… Read more »
Mark Francis

Yes, but only the Panopticon was being referred to here (at least by me).

Cicero
Difficult to separate Bentham’s concepts of the “National Charity Company” and the “Poor Panopticon” penitentiary. “‘if the truth were known, we would soon suspect that it was not only the indigent that Bentham wanted to control, but us too, all of us. That is, we might suspect that Panopticon was a version of Benthamite society writ small’ (Bahmueller, The National Charity Company, p. 110.) But as Mark… Read more »
Cicero

Sorry “as MIKE says”

BRIAN

Streuth, Cicero, I wish I was clever like what you is.

Cicero
@Brian LOL! Blame my generation having received state-funded education- a boon denied to later and current generations- although my working-class nature still breaks through the veneer- Tory and and Tory lookalike governments fear an educated and articulate population able to question them and hold them to account. So they restrict educational opportunities by privatising them at secondary and tertiary levels so that only it is available only… Read more »
Cicero

… unless the current generations do something to change it!

Mike Vallender
Cicero there is no lowest common denominator of understanding, there is a base of inception, conception and perception however from which understanding and many other values grow. I accept what you say about our newspapers but so many of our daily papers also target left or right and appear to move the target, so that it depends on your lean which one is accepted as nearer (… Read more »
Cicero
True! As I said at the beginning of this thread, Mike, ““Current political opinion” usually has a very short shelf-life!” The LCD is that all politicians lie and their sycophants in the print and electronic media support those lies with their publications. Thus (currently) internet discussions are the one channel though which people can seek the truth, but as I said previously, even that channel will eventually… Read more »
Steve Goodman

Caroline Lucas MP seems to be a welcome exception (“all politicians lie”). She also seems to speak well on the uncomfortable truths other politicians prefer to avoid or lie about.

I think we need more like her, for the good of all people and of our planet.

fedupbritain

did green party take’short money’?

Cicero

You are probably right SG.

I love her perceptive phrase ” “Westminster is like Hogwarts on steroids,” :-))

fedupbritain

did you also love the green parties idea to decriminalise membership of isis and ira?

Cicero

No- Bennett is a nightmare!

The Greens should dump the Sheila asap if it wants to be taken seriously!

fedupbritain

whats carbon footprint of greens target to build 600k new homes?

Sally Perry

More to the point, what has any of this discussion got to do with the Winter Gardens?

Mike Vallender

Cicero enough written now and I believe this article has been unfortunately also been pulled very wide of its initial mark and target due to ours, and others participation in a slightly sideways, though none the less, interesting discussion.

I therefore withdraw and let this conversation return to its own target and balance.

Thanks

Cicero

OK thanks

Dave

Another complete balls-up by Isle of Wight councillors!!!!

derek

‘Next Stop’ Island Line!!!!

Mike Vallender
Cicero the current and or future generations will undoubtedly do something about this but my concern is that leaderless government / capitalism is drip feeding the young people with lack of belief, values and leadership. The inevitable quagmire of where did we see ambition? Oh it went out the back window a few years ago. We need to re invest, not money wise but in time, effort… Read more »
Mike Vallender

Cicero that does not mean I believe we are heading towards anarchy etc but that with some help and leadership our current and future generations will become focused, stronger and more able.

Cicero
We are in violent agreement Mike. However I am less confident that the UK future will avoid a violent social disruption of some kind. Look at the symptoms: high level of youth employment, increasing restrictions on educational opportunities, general population disaffected by the contrast between their being penalised with austerity budgets while they see those privileged by governments enjoying a far better lifestyle, discomfort with overt and… Read more »
Mike Vallender
Cicero let us just agree, there is no need to bring physicality into it :-) I accept what you are saying but the days of patriarchs and matriarchs, generations of those who have our respect and adulation are becoming things of the past. We need to allow for and cultivate those values within the communities and our personal lives that are important to all of us, Communities… Read more »
Cicero

“We need to allow for and cultivate those values within the communities ” True but it will take two generations to achieve (say 60 years) and IMO things will boil over before then.

Youthful frustration is often expressed in “physicality”.

But enough of this depressing predicting- Over and out!

Mike Vallender

fedupofbritain that depends on your generation, knowledge and experience are you a mail, tablet, internet, app, telephone. notes and messages or general conversation type person. What are shiny and new I would tend to say comfortable, business work are more than sufficient as it is those that are doing the work that sets those standards.

Mike Vallender

A pleasure having the discussion Cicero.

Debby Robinson

Oh do get a room you two.

Cicero

Another one of those bloggers who substitutes an ad hominem for wit and wisdom?

Debby Robinson

You might care to view my previous, on topic, post which actually expanded the specific discussion of the Winter Gardens.

Cicero

Yes Debby and very interesting it is- pity you spoiled your very informative piece because you could not resist ending with “Halleluiah! The numpties and the suits rolled over & let Sussmilch tickle their tummies.”

If you believe the Mike and I were wrong in our comments pls tell us where rather than just launching an insult.

Mike Vallender

Sally that point is understood and I give my own apology if I assisted in it straying too far from the article.

However though not directly linked it does view the point of several people that too many articles recently appear to have been politically led and exclusive of the value and points that others might wish to make.