The old saying goes "never look a gift horse in the mouth" but sometimes there is good reason for looking right down the equine's throat and finding out if you will be left with a huge dentistry bill.

Yesterday the Isle of Wight Conservatives and the IW Council (spot the difference at present) trumpeted a 'big win' of millions of pounds from the Ministry of Justice to take on the roads and other infrastructure on the Parkhurst prisons estate outside Newport.

But the secrecy over the exact amount being given by Whitehall has me worried.

We are not allowed to know the exact amount...but why not?

We are told it is commercially confidential...but how so?

This is a deal between a government department and a local council.

I wouldn't have thought there would have been many other authorities or private companies clamouring to take on the failing streetlights, and crumbling roads and pavements, of the prison estates.

I have been up there many times and you take your car's health in your hands in some of the roads that feature horrendous potholes which residents have taken to filling with whatever they can find to make them in some way driveable.

So why exactly can't we know?

I would contend the Isle of Wight council tax payer has every right to know whether this will be enough to turn these decayed highways into fit-for purpose roads capable of taking more and more vehicles if the end game of knocking down Camp Hill prison and using the brownfield land for housing comes to fruition.

Is it £2 million, £20 million or £200 million?

We could end up tethered to a goat of a deal that will see the initial money run out and council tax payers picking up the tab for more miles of roadworks not covered by the Island Roads highways PFI contract...or is the pot of gold going to cover all the bills?

My colleague Louise Hill was told it was the Ministry of Justice's decision to keep the matter confidential but surely Cllr Stewart and his merry band can inform us what we are receiving to take on this gift horse, which at first sight looks more like a three-legged nag than a thoroughbred (no disrespect to three-legged nags).

The County Press will be putting in Freedom of Information requests about this if Cllr Stewart refuses to tell us.