Vectis Ventures, the Isle of Wight based holding company that controls and operates the leading attractions; Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill, has today announced that it intends to sell its Robin Hill attraction and has instructed Savills to market the property as a going concern.
The decision to sell Robin Hill has been necessitated by a prolonged period of financial turbulence following Covid and acerbated by the cost-of-living crisis and poor Spring and Summer weather.
These factors have stretched the finances of Vectis and the eventual sale of Robin Hill will strengthen the balance sheet of the group, allow borrowings (debt) to be repaid and to release funds for further investment in Blackgang Chine.
Alexander Dabell, owner of Vectis Ventures said:
“It is with a heavy heart that we have taken the decision to sell Robin Hill.
"It is a much-loved attraction and has given millions of visitors’ great pleasure and memorable visits over many years.
"It has been a privilege for my family to be the custodians of this fine site for nearly thirty years.
"However, the stark reality of the economic picture is that without a sale, the debt created through Covid loans, would need to be extended further into the future and would prevent investment in the short term.
"The truth is that visitor numbers have been effected by the very poor weather we have seen the past two seasons, which has given us no choice but to sell Robin Hill and focus our investment in Blackgang Chine.
"Robin Hill is being marketed as a going concern, and we have every hope that it will flourish under new ownership, when a suitable buyer can be found.”
With regards to staffing, Dabell confirmed:
“Regrettably the group is unable to support the number of staff currently employed and as part of the sale process we are entering into consultation with the workforce where it will be explained that around ten jobs will be at risk.
"We have worked hard to try to train and retain the talent in the business and we have a reputation as a reliable employer, but the testing economic picture is such that we simply cannot carry the existing high headcount.”
It is anticipated that some of the attractions at Robin Hill will transfer to Blackgang Chine and that the sale will trigger further investment at the Ventnor site.
“It is with regret that having made the decision to sell Robin Hill that we will of necessity have to cancel the Polar experience and the Christmas parties.
"However, full refunds will be made to those who placed their deposits with us and no one will suffer any financial loss."