Threat to £100,000 centre funding bid

By Emily Pearce

Thursday, December 6, 2012

 

Threat to £100,000 centre funding bid

The Isle of Wight Council and Ventnor Town Council cannot agree over the future of the former coastal visitors centre.

VENTNOR Town Council has only itself to blame if it loses out on £100,000 of funding, according to the leader of the Isle of Wight Council — who has dealt the latest blow in a row over the town’s coastal centre building.

The town council had hoped to acquire the Isle of Wight Council-owned building to develop a business and enterprise hub, in a bid to tackle youth unemployment in Ventnor, but the authority has made it clear it intends to sell it on the open market.

Ward councillor Chris Welsford has accused the local authority of jeopardising £100,000 of grant funding, which the town council has applied for to help realise the project.

But council leader Cllr David Pugh said the town council should have consulted with the authority first.

"It was a surprise to the local authority that an application for a substantial grant was made without first asking the Isle of Wight Council, the owner of the building, whether it would be made available.

"It was premature, in my view, to apply for that funding," he said.

"We are not minded to make the building available on the very generous terms the town council requested, as a gift or at a peppercorn rent.

"I hope they have looked at other buildings and have flexibility around that, or they will have only themselves to blame if they lose the funding — which I’m not even sure they have anyway."

Cllr Pugh urged the town council to nominate the coastal centre as a locally important asset under the new Community Right to Bid legislation, introduced under the Localism Act.

Reporter: emilyp@iwcpmail.co.uk

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