Ventnor Botanic Garden Disposal: The Countdown Begins

Botanic Garden will be put up for sale after Cllr Barry Abraham makes Delegated Decision

A delegated decision has been signed off today by Cllr George Brown Barry Abraham to dispose of the Ventnor Botanic Garden.

Ventnor Botanic Garden: Council Are Looking At Selling It OffExpressions of interest are being invited to transfer Ventnor Botanic Garden “in a property disposal (subject to Grant conditions being met and BIG consent)”.

This decision was chosen over either transferring Ventnor Botanic Garden through the use of a tendering process (subject to Grant conditions being met and BIG consent) or retaining within council management.

Record of Decision is embedded below for your convenience.
RecordofDecision – VBG Disposal

Monday, 3rd October, 2011 2:39pm



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

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. Steve Goodman

    3.Oct.2011 5:18pm


    We lost money because of the garden lift fiasco; we lost an exceptional garden curator, and now we may lose this world class garden.

    • Tanja Rebel

      3.Oct.2011 5:30pm

      Disgraceful is the word: How can we even contemplate selling this gem of a place? The actions of this Island Council are truly irresponsible and constitute a crime against public interest. Ventnor Botanic Gardens belong to us all – how dare they sell it off!

      Apparently our much loved Riverside Centre is now in danger as well… How low are our current masters willing to sink? We cannot let them get away with this without raising our voices: Time to rebel!!!

  2. witchfinder general

    3.Oct.2011 8:04pm

    To quote todays county press online

    ‘A SCHOLARSHIP programme for student and professional horticulturalists has been introduced at Ventnor Botanic Garden.’

    Is this latest ‘disposal’ already a done deal

  3. Ohman, it wouldn’t surprise me the next post by VentnorBlog goes along the lines of “Council are looking for buyers of the Island, as they believe that maintaining the people, land and economy is too much of a burden.”

    IW Council – Ruining your Island, one sale at a time.

  4. barbararula

    4.Oct.2011 12:41pm

    This council are disgrace, selling off all our assets, how dare they do this without asking us first. Why do we have so many councillors anyway, they cost too much, it is time for them to go and for others who care what happens to this beautiful Island to take over before it is too late. We rely on tourists they will not come here soon as they will have destroyed and sold off everything, and then what will we do.

  5. Margaret Tic

    4.Oct.2011 12:53pm

    Why should the council indeed the government subside the ordinary peasants places of pleasure.This great country of ours belongs to the rich and powerful.The rest of you can beggar off.

    Long live the Empire

  6. Simon kinsey

    4.Oct.2011 4:56pm

    Unbelievably bad news. What a great FREE place to visit or chill out a few times for the visitor to The Island! What has become of the £800K or so ‘underspend’ announced recently by the Council?

  7. Who will take over the gardens with the huge operating loss? It indicates that the disposal will be to a social enterprise with community involvement but with 250K yearly loss this can hardly be an attractive prospect.

  8. I do wonder what the Council, particularly Astrid Davies and Cllr George Brown have been doing for the last year.
    I stood up at the public meeting last year representing an independent interest in taking on VBG as a development trust.
    It was a nerve wrenching moment and needless to say I was booed by a very rude general public. I’m not really surprised by people who have such a resistance to change!
    I met with Ms Davies and Simon Goodenough the following day and I wasn’t happy about the outcome of that meeting. It was clear that the Council wanted to control what I did and really wanted to orchestrate the project. I was concerned that a steering group made up of the IWC and horticulturalists perhaps wasn’t the best idea and I felt as it had been my idea that I would like to be included, but Ms Davies said – you are a very valliant volunteer who didn’t belong on any steering group. I walked away at that point and never looked back until now when I see that nothing has been achieved and the VBG has been ‘steered’ into a brick wall!!

  9. Fontmaster

    4.Oct.2011 10:41pm

    Unless the council want to factor in £1m to the sale price, (which they’d have to return to the lottery fund), the disposal must ensure the following (taken from the decision report)

    There are a number of conditions relating to the Garden’s future which cannot be altered without the consent of BIG:-
    (a) The Garden must maintain reasonable levels of access to the public;
    (b) BIG’s consent to any disposal is required. Securing BIG consent could prevent the potential claw back, if BIG is satisfied about the suitability of the successor body;
    (c) There are a number of circumstances in which a disposal of the site would trigger claw back of a proportion of the Grant. The likely scale of such claw back could total almost £1million.

  10. In theory a good horticultural / scientific / academic organisation could take on the Garden, keep the excellent Chris Kidd in charge, keep it as a botanic garden, and keep it open to the public…

    But only if they had the money.

    These days the people with the money tend not to be good organisations doing good things, but the rich and powerful who have become rich and powerful either by no effort of their own, or by doing useless things, or by doing positively harmful things.

    So I can’t see how this is going to work. Who could come to the rescue?

    The Council should instead think of ways in which they could keep such an internationally important asset, but make or get more money from visitors and others.

  11. Horticulturalists, etc would appear to be the obvious solution, but what the VBG needs is an organisation with some good business savvy and vision to take it forward into the future.

    Simon Goodenough was a good Botanist, but he himself said, not a good business man. Chris Kidd is also the same, but when it came down to talking about the future of the VBG and offering some positive help, I was treated like a complete Macheavellian!

    Unfortunately, when one has worked in public service for a long period of time, the mediocrity will blinker any creative thinking or vision.

    We are a year down the road and the steering group Ms Davis was putting together to brainstorm the future of the gardens was members of the IW Council and Horticulturalists. Now, I’m not certain whether this actually came into fruition, but we are no further forward 12 months later.
    I personally would like to see an investigation into what has been done over the last 12 months by the IW council to secure the future of the VBG.
    I am disgusted with the whole situation.

  12. Megan Hall

    7.Oct.2011 5:31pm

    I am amazed at the decision to “sell off” VBG. Although I don’t live on the island we visit Ventnor every year and have done for the past 10 years. We always make a special effort to visit the Gardens. Everyone I know who visits the Island mentions the VBG and cannot understand why such a beautiful and tranquil place with great horticulture attention and sheer love would want or indeed need to be sold. What is it with Councils, do they not want to attract visitors to the Island??? Loss of jobs during these uncertain times too. Talk about line Council’s pockets – I agree with the previous post – will the Lottery money be returned. I think not. Come on Councils – give the Island the credibility it deserves especially Ventnor.

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