Newsletter ban in centre dispute

By Jon Moreno

Sunday, February 24, 2013

 

Newsletter ban in centre dispute

Ventnor Coastal Centre, at the centre of a dispute.

A NEWSLETTER inviting the public to have its say on the future of Ventnor Coastal Centre has been banned from a library by the centre’s owners, the Isle of Wight Council.

The authority, which ordered the newsletter’s withdrawal before they were displayed at Ventnor Library, says action was taken because it contained inaccuracies and misleading and contentious statements.

In the publication, which forms part of Ventnor Town Council’s campaign to retain the Coastal Visitor Centre, in Salisbury Gardens, residents are urged to give their views on the future of the site and download a petition form. The local authority refuted statements in it, including that it was determined to sell Salisbury Gardens, it supported a bid to develop the centre, the building belonged to Ventnor and money raised from its sale would be spent elsewhere.

The authority also said the newsletter could be interpreted as political — an allegation the town council denied.

However, the Isle of Wight Council also said it had no intention of giving the centre to the town council.

The authority wants to sell the centre on the open market for more than £400,000 but the town council wants to lease it or buy it for less.

In a statement, the town council said it would not be having the newsletter reprinted and it would welcome a commitment by the Isle of Wight Council not to sell Salisbury Gardens.

The town council also disputes the Isle of Wight Council’s moral right to own the coastal visitor centre and accused it of 'asset-stripping’ Ventnor.

Ventnor mayor, Cllr Steve Stubbings, said: "The Isle of Wight Council has taken a very heavy-handed approach about it. If anything, this publicity has done us a huge favour in highlighting the issue."

Reporter: jonm@iwcpmail.co.uk

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