Ventnor Winter Gardens: Delegated Decision Made: Hambrough Group Gets Buy Option

The Hambrough Group have been give the option to buy the Ventnor Winter Gardens, following delegated decision by Cllr George Brown

VB readers will remember a couple of weeks ago, we announced news of the delegated decision report for the disposal of the Ventnor Winter Gardens.

George BrownAs Cllr George Brown, the man who says yes or no, was on holiday at the time, news of his decision has been delayed until now.

A delegated decision notice has just been released by the council, revealing “THAT the disposal of Ventnor Winter Gardens to Robert Thompson’s Hambrough Group on the terms set out in Appendix D (embedded below for your convenience) of the report, be agreed.”

Significant investment
The reason for the decision, rather than one of the other options, was “To support the Council’s key corporate priority of Regeneration and the Economy, by enabling a significant investment in the site by Robert Thompson’s Hambrough Group and produce anticipated direct and indirect employment in the Town.”

Other bidders rejected
Other options considered but rejected were

  • Option (2) – Agree to the disposal of Ventnor Winter Gardens to Robert Thompson’s Hambrough Group on the terms set out in Appendix D amended such that the auditorium is to be retained for the purposes shown for a period of twenty (20) years.
  • Option (3) – Not agree to the disposal of Ventnor Winter Gardens to Robert Thompson’s Hambrough Group.
  • Option (4) – Terminate negotiations with Robert Thompson’s Hambrough Group, appoint the next best bidder to be the preferred bidder and commence negotiations with it for the disposal of Ventnor Winter Gardens.
  • Option (5) – Undertake a new marketing exercise for the disposal of Ventnor Winter Gardens without any restrictions on its use.

An appendix of representations received and responses given by the council is embedded below for your convenience.

Should other IW councillors oppose the decision the call-in period expires at 5pm on 15th September.

Update 16:38: Altered headline

Ventnor Winter Gardens Record of Decision Appendix

Appendix D
Ventnor Winter Gardens Report Appendix D

Thursday, 8th September, 2011 3:18pm



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

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44 Comments on "Ventnor Winter Gardens: Delegated Decision Made: Hambrough Group Gets Buy Option"

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Angela white

In other words its “up yours” to all the other bidders (and people in Ventnor) as RTHG was the chosen bidder from the very beginning. It just better do a really good job and not charge the earth to hire it or for his food!!!!!!


That’s it then folks use it for a few years then not able to afford to enter the doors.

Paul Miller

It’s almost stunning, actually. Giles’ conclusion was forgone – it simply took until he returned from his holiday to shove it though (the allusion is intentional) unamended. No one can be surprised in the least.

(Over to you, councillors…)


I can’t and don’t understand how one man can have the almighty say so and last word on this decision- can anyone please explain?

Wight Essence
With the next local election getting closer each day, to unseat this Tory lot it may be necessary for the Independents and other parties to work closer and campaign together, instead of against each other. The largest issue facing all opposition at the next local election should be to see the end of this terrible Tory Council. Sadly, this will be much less likely if the other… Read more »

Is it too late to suggest that the legal docs pertaining to community use include some text ‘to positively encourage community involvement over the 20 year year period’ plus some sanctions if not followed. Positive encouragement could embrace realistic hire charges and other services and realistic periods of use etc.

Wight Essence

Why didn’t Brown announce this decision before he went away on holiday?

In my opinion, the Council have probably been stringing the other 2 bids along on purpose by making it appear they still had a chance of winning, even though the decision to award the Hanborough/Thompson group was made a long time ago.

Rob Jones

You mean like they string people along with their sham consultations? They wont keep getting away with this.


….but “they’ do keep getting away with it?
What can be done ?
Who is going to do something about it?

Wight Essence
Absoulutely? Governments and Councils both use these so called consultations as a way of making out they are listening to other people’s opinions and concerns before making any decisions on their proposals. In reality, Government and Councils make and rubber stamp their decisions months in advance before putting them out to consultation. In my view, these (so called) consultations are just a load of spin and used… Read more »
Mr Justice

Another great deal for Island council taxpayers. Not.

No disrespect to Mr H, he and his backers, played a blinder.

out of touch theconmag

Poor George Forgive him he knows not what he does.

Victoria Meldrew
George Brown is very fond of making decisions under delegated powers without having to explain his actions – it’s a b** disgrace and the sooner he goes the better. Does he still live on the Island , he hasn’t been spotted in Cowes for MONTHS and doesn’t have the slightest interest in his ward. We should hand over the tourism reigns to someone else whilst he is… Read more »
Wight Essence

Perhaps he spends most of his time at his London Masonic Lodge performing stupid rituals.


Maybe his heart lies somewhere further North East, like Sunderland.


I sometimes wonder whether Brown is Pugh’s back street driver and get the impression he looks up to him as some type of experienced eleder master and grandee of the Island for advice on policies and leadership. Sir George or Lord Brown of West Cowes?

Rob Jones

An OBE at least? For his community work :)

Victoria Meldrew

can’t recall the last time he attended a full Cowes Town Council meeting….


While the majority of people retire at 65, Sir George seems to go on forever. I think it’s about time he gave it up, buy himself a pair of slippers, sit by the log fire and reminisce about his time as a Councillor and Freemason.

Rob Jones

He has a bigger train set to play with now?


I am disgusted. A community trust could have the potential to raise the kind of money the Hambrough are willing to invest. Here is just one example:



Linda Chester
Actually a community trust DID have the potentential to raise money in just this way… unfortunately, though the decision makers did not have the breadth of vision to recognise its value. Its value lay in terms of community involvement, with its passion to see their cherished meeting place restored to its former glory. And, although this passion did not relate to millions of pounds in the bank,… Read more »
This is what I feared all along. So much for writing to those responsible for making decisions and supposedly representing us as elected councillors, town and county, County Press, Chronicle, Ventnor Blog, Metcalfe etc. Does anyone take any notice of what we the poor tax paying public want? Absolutely not. We are told we know not what we say and are ridden over roughshod. We even have… Read more »
Wight Essence
I couldn’t agree more. In my opinion, Governments and Councils treat the general public as a load of idiots that can be easily manipulated and used for their own ambitions. In a proper democracy, MP’s and councillors are supposed to be elected to represent the concerns and interests of their constituents, although these days they do the complete opposite by supporting and pushing through unpopular and stupid… Read more »
Steephill Jack

MPs and councillors who represent political parties represent their party interests and ideologies, not the electorate.
All the Conservative County Councillors vote together according to the direction of Pugh and Brown. The only solution for us is to vote for Independent councillors in future.

The thought of this Tory lot winning the next local election fills me with alarm. I hope everybody who have similar fears, will offer their support in the next election campaign to help get them booted out. If this means using tactictal voting in some island wards, then so be it. Hopefully the opposition parties will put aside their differences and target the Tories, especially in such… Read more »
Here we go again…………town council. For gods sake stop bleating about it woman! Do you really think half a dozen people sitting on a town council can influence the massive decisions the Island council have been making across the board? If so get in the queue to join a town council somewhere – I really had no idea they had that much power! WAKE UP!!!

Helanbak i think where the town council have let us down is in point 26 of the delegated decision report where it states that 8 of the 10 councillors in attendance voted in favour of the 10year limitation on guaranteed community use. The other 2 abstained due to a personal interest.


why should the use by the community be paramount…after all its under use by the community is the reason its in its current state

steve s

You didn’t read it properly, Rosie. It’s something that seems to happen an awful lot around these parts.


Please explain it then Steve.

steve s
It was resolved: following discussion based on the presentation from Barry Cooke, the Isle of Wight Council’s Strategic Manager Assets, this Council does not view the 10 year limitation on guaranteed continuing community use or on 10 years provision of the auditorium as grounds for breaking off negotiations with the Hambrough Group. It’s quite clear from this resolution that VTC did ‘not see the 10 year limitation… Read more »
Ok, i did read it properly. Just didnt summarise clearly enough. I do think the town council could and should have pushed harder for a lengthier time period for community use. That is just the final part where the town council have let us down. I believe the Hambrough are calling all the shots and both the town council and IW Council are playing right into their… Read more »

Sadly the IW Council often give the impression they care more about wealthy businesses instead of the communities and people they’re supposed to represent.

Steephill Jack
Conservative County Council ideology is to sell off as much as possible to the private sector where they have no stautory duty to provide it. This includes buildings, land, toilets and even libraries where they do have some stautory responsibilities. The Winter Gardens are part of that process: it’s Conservative policy to reduce government and give it to the private sector: hospitals, prisons, schools etc. Don’t people… Read more »
Wight Essence
I couldn’t agree more Steephill. It’s a top down ideology that has been tried time and again by the Tories although it very seldom produces anything that benefits the poor, lower and average wage earner. This backward way of thinking takes money from the poor to benefit the rich which then creates nationwide and local economic slumps, unemployment, poverty, greed and a lot of unhappiness in many… Read more »
steve s

I think if I were a representative (or even a friend) of Ventnor Theatre Group, I’d be looking to mend some broken fences right now. I’d be happy to do all I can to assist in this process.
Just sayin’.


Glad to hear you’ve got some influence on that Steve. And thanks for the offer. : )

Pensioners united

I think, if I were a mayor, I would be trying to mend many broken fences after this betrayal Mr S.

steve s

Well, you know where to find me, PU. Bring your own tools and we can work on it together.

John Ward

How many delegated decisions is that now this year???? and when does a delegated decision turn into a dictatorship???




Looks like its signed sealed and delivered for the Hambrough Group and the Winter Gardens…
Who’s seen the little column in the County Press that is titled….

Wish i was in the market with a spare bit of change in my pocket…