Shanklin Theatre on the Isle of Wight. Picture by Peter Boam.
THE ISLE of Wight Council’s boss of economic development, John Metcalfe, has said he is keen to see Shanklin Theatre trustees finally take over the building following a financial wrangle between them and the authority over repair costs.
Today (Friday) in the Isle of Wight County Press, theatre trustees revealed they had refused to sign a document to take on the freehold of the theatre from the council, because of the cost of vital health and safety work.
Trustees have demanded the £17,500 cost of replacing an alarm system should be met by the council, as the authority has received rental income of £18,000 from telephone masts located on the theatre roof.
Mr Metcalfe said however that the council had spent 'significant’ sums of money on the theatre — far in excess of the income received from the masts — to support trustees taking it over.
He said: "Though we currently lease the theatre to the trust at a nominal rent of just £1 a year, the council retains ownership of the building and therefore receives income from the telecommunications masts on it.
"Once we complete this transfer — and the council is keen to do this as soon as possible, then the trust will receive all the income from these masts."
He added: "In the meantime, we are continuing to talk to the trust over the final terms of the transfer and have made a proposal that acknowledges delays in reaching an agreement — though not of our making — have meant the trust has not yet been able to gain revenue from the masts."