Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has said that the Council should move ahead with the purchase of Venture Quays in East Cowes, overriding the advice of officers.
As previously reported by Island Echo, months of negotiations into buying the Venture Quays site in East Cowes could go down the drain due to coronavirus.
The Isle of Wight Council has been negotiating with Homes England for the building and land that make up the former Venture Quays site on East Cowes waterfront, hoping to save marine manufacturing jobs, but now a report to Cabinet says this could all be at risk due to the financial position of the council after the pandemic.
The £1million acquisition of the site, which has been the subject of talks with Homes England since July 2019, could be too much for the precarious position of the Isle of Wight Council’s finances, which currently have an estimated funding gap of almost £10 million.
Local MP Bob Seely has today (Thursday) said:
“My very strong advice to the Council is that it moves ahead with the purchase of Venture Quays.
“I fully understand the role of the council officers, their legal responsibilities and the need to be clear about the financial situation. The Council officers have responded exceptionally well to the ongoing COVID situation and I am very grateful to them for their work.
“On this occasion I believe that the Councillors should override the advice of officers and purchase Venture Quays, striking a decent deal with the shipbuilding firm there that helps to protect jobs whilst giving a decent return to the Council.
“I have another meeting with a minister on this issue next week.
“The saga of East Cowes and ensuring its future has taken a decade and a half. It has been a remarkably painful process which has not shown central Government decision-making at its best.
“When I became the MP I was determined to press ahead and make sure we concluded a deal on this site that supported jobs and wealth creation on the Island. Working with the Council, we are on the verge of getting a much better deal than was on offer only a year ago. We need to finalise this deal and move on to other pressing issues.”