The Isle of Wight Council is to go ahead with the purchase of Venture Quays, despite worries about their financial position.
The £1million-plus purchase will include the Columbine building, and three other adjacent sites. The decision to go ahead withe the purchase was unanimously agreed at a Council Cabinet meeting this evening (Thursday).
Th move has been welcomed by Island MP Bob Seely. He said: said: “I’m delighted that the IW Council has agreed to proceed to the next stage in purchasing the East Cowes Waterfront sites. I welcome this decision and I fully support Councillors taking this decision despite the financial situation.
“This decision is a very important on and has been a long time in the making. I have been working with the Council since being elected to bring about positive change that will safeguard jobs for Islanders. It is to the Council’s credit that they are ending a level of uncertainty about the future of shipbuilding on the Isle of Wight.“It has taken SEEDA and Homes England 15 years to dispose of this site. That is far too long. I hope the lessons will be learned from the process. The original scheme negotiated by Homes England was not in the interests of the Island, and I said so at the time, but we were contractually obliged to stick with it. It would have undermined the future of shipbuilding at the site.
“Since then we have worked hard to ensure Homes England did the right thing by the Island. We have had some frank calls with them, but I am delighted that, thanks to Sir Edward Lister’s intervention when he was Chairman of Homes England, we were able to take a new negotiating approach. In addition, and working together to make our case, we were able to secure the site at a price that the Island could justify. We obtained the site at our valuation.
“I am writing to ministers to inform them that we intend to use this site to create jobs and new industries for East Cowes and the Island.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Council to preserve part of our economy and enable companies to grow by giving them certainty, particularly given the serious impact of coronavirus on our economy. Not only will this decision serve to protect jobs and diversify our economy, but it will also bring forward brownfield housing sites for development and lessen pressure on greenfield sites.”