Ryde Theatre, which is to be sold by the Isle of Wight Council. Picture by Robin Crossley.
THE sale of Ryde Theatre to an unnamed events company has been confirmed by the Isle of Wight Council this afternoon (Tuesday).
The iconic building will be sold for £400,000 in a deal which will see the new owners re-open the venue as a theatre and live entertainment venue and operate the Lind Street public toilets at their expense.
The decision was taken by deputy leader and cabinet member for the economy and regulatory services, Cllr George Brown, under delegated powers.
It emerged, through papers issued with a report into the decision, that Ryde Town Council wrote to the Isle of Wight Council expressing its disappointment that neither they nor the local community had been consulted during the disposal process.
They raised concerns that no condition had been placed on the sale to secure the building’s future use as a venue, and that the value of the final bids was well below the true value of the land and buildings.
Town councillors also called for a clawback clause which would ensure that should the site ever be developed or resold, the local community would receive some benefit from the proposed sale.
Cllr Brown said the town council had never approached the Isle of Wight Council to discuss any aspect of the sale of the building.
He said it was entirely appropriate for the council to advertise the sale without restriction having previously marketed the building with a condition it should be retained as a theatre when just three bids were received.
Of those, only one was deemed acceptable and that fell through.
Cllr Brown said the building had been marketed for well over six months and the two highest bids were within £10,000 of each other.
"We must also take into account that the estimated bill to put the whole building in good order is £1.8m and that it is a listed building."