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.
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.
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.