to Isle of Wight History Centre Archive of Monthly News Items
As previously featured in the History Centre

October - December 2022

October 2022
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has previously fought off two attempts by The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to reveal internal documents on the listed engine house at Browns Golf Course. But it's not going away..
Browns pavilion

    In a sense the issue has become academic. Few still believe the Grade II listing claim of a WWII PLUTO connection. The problem remains that the refusal of delist applications by both Historic England and DCMS has left them with no way to extricate themselves from the listing.
   It is assumed the FOI application will expose their internal acceptance of the situation. It has now emerged the Island FOI issue with DCMS is one of a number of disputes the ICO have been pursuing with the department. They say they are "talking to DCMS about repeated and extensive delays on its part when complying with its FOIA obligations. We are satisfied that it has been turning this position around."
   It seems that sooner or later the listing will have to be delisted. In an ideal world the engine house would carry a Grade II listing on the basis of a fine British engineering project, established by Alexander Kennedy to power his business for decades..

November 2022
Harrison Trust's sale of the Medina Yard site to Island based Diverse Marine Ltd adds a new dimension to what has been one of the most protracted planning processes of recent times
Medina Yard

   Harrison's was in the process of compiling a planning application for phase 4 of the.development, as required for planning permission. It seems likely the emerging high cost of developing this phase prompted them to abandon the development altogether.
   The new owners have issued a statement of intent for the site. Ben Colman, director of Diverse Marine Ltd, said: The acquisition of the Medina Yard and Medina Village not only protects the future of Diverse Marine, its staff and contractors but also gives security to other tenants on the site that support us in our day-to-day activities." This suggests a different approach from Harrisons' development, with greater emphasis on the traditional business of the site.
   Supporters of the hammerhead crane will be watching future events with interest. While Harrisons' plan included full renovation of the crane, they never accepted ownership of it. After much controversy they left the council with the responsibility for regular maintenance of the Grade II* structure. It will be interesting to see whether the council will seek to pass ownership to Diverse Marine Ltd,
   Any substantial planning application will only likely succeed if it includes full renovation of the crane. The previous planning permission called for a static crane, while Historic England wanted some operational features maintained, notably some movement of the jib. Doubtless Historic England will be resurrecting talks.

December 2022
Local heritage venues might have expected their enterprising efforts in meeting COVID restrictions would have eventually left them with restored attendance levels. Unfortunately they now have to face cost of living crisis.
Newport Villa

   Few local museums have managed to achieve pre-pandemic attendance levels and they now find themselves confronted with a cost of living crisis which is sure to have some impact on people's choice of expenditure. The council's own museum service has tried adapting opening hours with special offers but they have been unable to make a complete recovery. Matters will be made worse as museums and heritage centres find themselves with increased energy costs and overheads, perhaps leading to restricted opening times.
   Education is also likely to suffer as schools will find it difficult to fund school trips to heritage facilities. The Heritage Service heads a group of museums which have been fortunate to have received funding from the Department of Education for a Museums and Schools Commission, which tasks them with providing a quality service. But the funding has limited time available and It remains to be seen whether it can be replaced
   It looks as if life is going to be difficult for museums and heritage centres for the foreseeable future.