Following our report yesterday on the slow progress of development at the Ventnor Winter Gardens.
We’d put a number of questions to owner Kevin Sussmilch who this afternoon told OnTheWight,
“The Hambrough Group took possession from the IOW Council in January this year.
“Unfortunately due to unexpected changes within the business and the current economic climate it has meant a delay to the planned refurbishment and development of the site.
“We understand how frustrating this must be to the people of Ventnor and the Isle of Wight.”
He went on to explain plans for a short term measure,
“So whilst these plans have been put temporarily on hold, as a short term measure we have been working on another option to get the Winter Gardens open again as soon as possible so that at least it will be operating and be accessible to people.
“However, to do so will still involve an enormous amount of work due to the vandalism that has occurred.”
Community partnership with Isle of Wight College
Plans for the short term measure are to engage with students from the Isle of Wight College to carry out work to bring the building back to habitable status.
“To this end we have been in communication with the IOW College to work as Private / Community Partnership – whereby the students at the college, covering many different courses and faculties can actually participate in a major practical project, gaining them experience alongside their course work. This will be complemented with a normal skilled workforce where necessary.
“The first port of call being to get the roof repaired to stop the water ingress, due to the lead being stolen with further damage whilst still under the ownership of the IOW Council, and then to get the building dried out.”
He finished by saying that he hoped the works would be completed in order to have the building back in public use by the summer or earlier.
“Various contractors have visited the site to assess these works and in an ‘ideal world’ we would like to be starting this in January for an opening as soon as possible….in the summer or earlier?
“Once we have more information on when the work is due to commence we will ensure you are advised accordingly.”