Ventnor Winter Gardens: Contractors still not chosen

The previously promised opening date of Summer 2013 is wishful thinking now as The Hambrough Group admit they still haven’t appointed building contractors.

Winter Gardens:

OnTheWight are pleased to finally be able to give readers an update in the long running saga of the Ventnor Winter Gardens.

Readers will be aware that since The Hambrough Group (THG) were chosen as the preferred bidders to purchase the iconic clifftop venue for £1 back in September 2011, there has been little sign of any redevelopment work taking place.

Indeed, many residents have over the last two years, expressed deep concerns about how the venue has been left to fall further into disrepair, becoming even more of a blot on the landscape.

No contractors
In May 2012, we were told the venue would be open by Summer 2013.

That’s looking pretty unlikely now, as THG told OnTheWight today that they have still not appointed building contractors to carry out the work.

Speculation fills the gaps
When there is a lack of forthcoming information, speculation fills the gaps and indeed this is what appears to have happened in Ventnor.

All manner of rumours have been circulating about the future of the venue.

However, further to a call from The Hambrough Group this morning, they assured us that redevelopment of the Winter Gardens is still planned.

Confusing delays
The delays have been confusing to many. The deal was announced in September 2011, but the sale of the building was dependent on planning approval.

Planning permission was submitted and approved, but geo-technical surveys carried out after that brought up the need to adapt the original plans. Cue, revised plans.

The lengthy planning process hasn’t helped in finalising the sale.

As OnTheWight previously reported, exchange of contracts took place in November 2012 and completion of contracts took place in Mid January 2013.

“Work is continuing and ongoing”
A spokesperson said today that work “was continuing and ongoing”, but confined to architectural and planning stages.

We were told that they had received responses to the tender invitation for contractors, but were seeking further information before making a decision.

They hoped to be able to announce a contractor soon.

Councillors are “monitoring the situation closely”
Councillor Jonathan Gilbey, cabinet member for resources, said:

“We are keen to see the Winter Gardens brought back into use by the new owner as quickly as possible. I would like to reassure residents that we are monitoring the situation closely to ensure all the necessary steps are being taken by the owner to progress this important development in the heart of Ventnor.”

More to follow.

Thursday, 6th June, 2013 4:37pm



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

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7 Comments on "Ventnor Winter Gardens: Contractors still not chosen"

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Carol Jones
The Hamborough group should be ashamed. They have been stalling for months now when councillors from the town and residents have asked questions regarding the promised development. It is little wonder that negative speculation has ensued as a result of their failure to deliver… The IOW council appear to have done little or nothing to encourage work to commence, their sole intention seems to have been to… Read more »
Sad Sam
Were the fancy plans a complete fraud? Did Hambrough really have any intentions to develop the place? Was the intention to boast that a bigger company than the local consortium would do better and outdo the bid at that time? Was the real intention just to let it look as though it is falling apart so that everyone would say that it would be better if it… Read more »
Agree Sad Sam, leaving a property to rot and become an eyesore so when the owner says they will knock it down and start again is a classic trick that has been used more than once in Ventnor already. I also agree with Carol that the owners should be ashamed. They could have made temporary measures to make the building look half decent whilst they went through… Read more »
The following is personal opinion but based on a little knowledge, – perhaps a dangerous thing. At least one of the other bids clearly showed a roadmap to having the WG partly open in the first year. There was then a development strategy to improve other aspects of the facility while funding was being generated by the functioning part. Bank accounts with cash deposits were presented and… Read more »