Ventnor Winter Gardens. Picture by Peter Boam.
THE COMPANY which owns Ventnor Winter Gardens has put multi-million pound plans to turn it into a top 35-bed hotel, conference and entertainment centre, on hold.
But the Hambrough Group confirmed it will re-open the Isle of Wight venue this summer.
A spokesman said: "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, 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.
"This will still involve an enormous amount of work due to the vandalism that has occurred."
Work has already started, in partnership with the Isle of Wight College, whose construction students and contractors are repairing the roof and dry-out the building, with the hope of it opening by early summer.
The Isle of Wight Council, which sold the Winter Gardens to the Hambrough Group for £1 in August 2011, insisted, as a condition of sale, that work should be 'substantially complete’ on the project within three years.
But planning permission took longer than expected and the Hambrough Group blamed subsequent delays on the shock departure of high-profile chef Robert Thompson and substantial ground survey work that was needed.
Ventnor mayor Cllr Steve Stubbings said: "I will be making enquiries about what is happening to the project."