Controversial parish building sold

The building at the centre of extensive legal wrangles in Bembridge was finally sold by auction today (Sept 13) for £185k. The freehold of 5/7 High Street was sold by Clive Emson with a guide price of £180k to £190k excluding fees. But the long-running legal saga may still not be over.

Bembridge Parish Council (BPC) have been involved in various challenges to their efforts to sell the building, the home of Captain Stan’s Fish Shop, including the threat of a judicial review from another former tenant, Peter Burke. The case was settled out of court and led to BPC paying hefty legal bills, both Mr Burke’s and their own when it transpired that they had no insurance in place which would cover them. It is believed that Mr Burke’s offer for the building was in excess of £187k and also have given £20k to four local charities.

The building has been nominated as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), but the legal documentation originally available on Clive Emson’s website did not record this. In advance of the sale the IW Observer asked the auctioneer whether they were aware of any discrepancies or potential challenges to the sale.

A spokesman said: “We were already aware of the discrepancy in the legal documentation supplied to us by our client’s solicitors in this matter and, having already raised the issue with both our client and their legal representatives, we are awaiting their further instructions.”

Further information was then added to the site’s listing showing both the nomination of the building of an ACV, together with a copy of an undated and unsigned agreement between the Isle of Wight Council and BPC removing a covenant there must be public toilets in the building. There has been talk on social media of further legal action over the sale on social media channels.

Mike Curtis, owner of Captain Stan’s Fish Shop said in advance of the sale: “It’s just wrong. The community doesn’t want the property sold; it is a small number of parish councillors who are just hellbent on showing that they have power. There has been no proper financial case made for selling it. Local democracy in Bembridge is dead.”