What is the future of Dreamland? There’s a council meeting to discuss this coming up and the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company Ltd, otherwise known as MTRCL are planning a public consultation exercise to discover what residents want to do with the plot.
It’s no secret what the developers would like to do, given the sheer size of the area involved and it’s the presence of the scenic railway, bravely defying the risk from Swan Vesta for years, which has helped keep it as it is at present.
The latest plan is to provide a “Leisure destination for Margate” to be used for a “Mix of traditional and innovative uses”, whatever that may mean in practise. We’ve even had the suggestion of it becoming a “World class tennis centre” but knowing a little about the subject, I rather think that’s the most ludicrous pipe dream of all.
What I believe we need is an all-year water park on a larger scale than that of Aqualud in Le Touquet, with amusements and family friendly restaurants, shops and entertainment around the outside. This would be a guaranteed money spinner for Margate and is really in the “no-brainer” category if it is to exist as a competitive modern resort. A public consultation exercise simply draws out and already tedious and long-term problem and avoids the need to make a decision, something that we are rather good at here in Thanet.
A few years ago I was fortunate enough to meet the ruler of Dubai over dinner, with former Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating. (ironically, I was standing in for Patricia Hewitt). We all know about the success of Dubai as a dazzling tourist destination but this is mostly down to Sheikh Mohammed’s ability to get things done and cut through the red tape. If a project looks good and has a strong commercial case that attracts benefits to Dubai, then he’ll kick the proverbial backside of anyone who stands in the way and that I suggest, is what we need, in a more democratic sense perhaps, here in Thanet, if we are going to move forward with a little more imagination and commercial pragmatism than presently exists on our own little island.