AN ULTIMATUM has been handed to Ryde Town Council (RTC) over the future of Ryde Town Hall - and they have until the end of the month to make a decision.

Despite discussions with the owner to buy the historic building, another offer has been put on the table which means RTC have to work out what its next step will be or lose their chance to own the building.

Speaking at a RTC meeting last night (Monday), Mayor of Ryde Michael Lilley said an extraordinary meeting will be called next Wednesday (July 14) to discuss what to do, following the delivery of a feasibility and viability study.

Funding from Historic England was provided, through the Heritage Action Zone, to commission the study of the town hall and theatre but with the caveat the study would be made public.

Cllr Lilley said: "The study will be available over the next week. At the meeting, there will be a presentation and decision for us to go to the next stage of purchasing or starting the process with the owner.

"The owner has got another offer on the building and has said after giving us two years to come up with an offer he is not willing to go further than July with discussions.

"Cllr Phil Jordan [chair of RTC's Acquisitions and Finance committee] felt it was important to have the study presented to the council and community. I have seen the draft and it is comprehensive on the viability."

The council voted last November to agree a three-year lease of the building with an option to buy it.

The building has been empty since 2013 when the Isle of Wight Council sold the venue to a private developer but in recent months, the hall and theatre have been broken into and vandalised.

RTC previously applied for £7m funding from the Lottery Heritage to restore the building but were unsuccessful — one reason being that they did not own it.

After yesterday's meeting, Cllr Jordan said they are now finally in a place to bring forward a motion, asking RTC to buy the building.

He said: "We have seen drafts of the study and we know, once it has been restored, the building is able to sustain itself going forward into the future."

Cllr Jordan said the study will help the council apply for grant funding to help return the building to community, mixed leisure use.

If the council take on the building, Cllr Jordan said it would see the town council's offices put back in there and other interested parties like the NHS and CCG occupy space.