Friday, May 12, 2006

Dreamland - New Guidelines

New guidelines on the future of the Dreamland site are to be developed, detailing the process which would be required if any developer wants to prove that an amusement park would not be viable on the site.

A Hole in One

The recommendation was agreed at Annual Council last night (Thursday 11 May), when Members also agreed that no further Modifications are to be made to the Local Plan, which sets out the planning policy for the area until 2011.

The Plan was considered by an independent government Inspector, who made more than 550 recommendations in his report. Most of these were updates or clarifications to the Plan and there were only a few instances where the Inspector disagreed with the Council's position.

The Council has agreed with the vast majority of the Inspector's recommendations and had already proposed to modify the Plan accordingly.

A public consultation on these modifications has been held over the last couple of months and there were a total of 452 representations submitted and of those, all but ten related to the Dreamland site. A large number of these comments stated that the policy, approved by the Council, created uncertainty and allowed other uses on the site.

The policy supports an amusement park on the site and only if it proved that this is not viable does the policy allow for re-development. Last night, Members agreed that new guidance would be put together, which sets out the tests and supporting evidence that would be needed, before permission would be granted for any other use on the site. The policy states that the predominant use should be for leisure and any plans must be compatible with the wider plans for Margate. The policy requires that the Scenic Railway must be retained and should be within a green park site.

Cllr. John Kirby, Cabinet Member for Development Services, said: "We know that Dreamland is an important issue to many people and we have listened to the concerns that have been put forward. This is why we are now planning on producing additional guidance that sets out clearly what tests would have to be met, should anyone want to use the site for anything but an amusement park.

"We feel this is the best way forward, as it is extremely important to adopt the Local Plan at the earliest opportunity. In the latest round of public consultation, there were no material new matters raised about Dreamland to justify overturning the Council's decision from January.

That's why we have chosen to do this. We can now move on with the important job of getting the Local Plan in place. This is a vital document for the future of Thanet and sets out a bold vision for our area, which we are determined to take forward."


worm said...

"Viable" presumably means if no one will use it.

Anonymous said...

"New Guidance", and I wonder which bright spark is going to compile that. Not to worry though, I'm sure Mr Godden and his lawyers will drive a coach and horses through it.

Anonymous said...

Ho ho ho and he he he. A sense of history is needed here. The Dreamland site was put into its present state of non-viability by selling off the rides and moving them elsewhere (some might call this asset stripping); at the same time promotion and advertising ceased. Then just to make sure that it was a well and truly knackered as an attraction, franchisees had their rents put up by threefold or more to drive them away because falling numbers coming in the gates and a franchise charge of £16,000 would have meant huge losses for them. Of course its not viable because Waterbridge are not in the business of making it so.
We then had the very interesting fire at JGs (not the first for this unfortunately fire afflicted businessman but the third I know of) which very conveniently provided a large access onto the site from Marine Terrace now called Goddens Gap.
This year, to the joyful praise from Save Dreamlanders, TDC, Thanet Gazunder and even visitors to Thanetlife, we were conned as the 'stupid local bumpkins' we are as regarded as, as a Big Wheel was put in Goddens Gap. Are there any other attractions?

So its already "not viable" because TDC has allowed a get out clause 'predominant use must be leisure'. What is predominant? 51% of space IS and a large portion of that has the Scenic Railway on it!

Having seen the complete ignoring of vital environmental Thanet Plan Polocies in the Two Chimneys saga reported on this blog site and nowhere else,and the utter disregard for Planning Regulations going on down at Marine Terrace (Wheel and Dreamland signs) do I have any faith in TDC's "additional guidance and tests" in respect of the Dreamland Site. Of course not. Cllr Kirby et al now look like apologists for Waterbridge. TDC may as well put us all out of what will be prolonged misery on the Dreamland site and let Waterbridge do what the heck it likes down there AS SOON AS POSSIBLE because on all evidence so far it will be doing just that in a couple of years time any way. TDC is just prolonging the agony.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I have to agree with everything you write.
We don't want another fiasco like the Sea Bathing Hospital which stood empty for over 10 years before it was redeveloped.
By the way, that seems to be coming on nicely now, after several wouldbe developers were messed about by TDC so much they gave up on the idea and sold the site on, conveniently losing some ultra restrictive covenants alomg the way.

Anonymous said...

Anyone at the Council meeting on Thursday will know how chaotic, inept and confusing the presentation of this policy was, leaving everyone in the room with little idea what it really meant. 3 attempts at rewriting the additions, the last by an officer who still had to rewrite again when it was pointed out the draft never mentioned Dreamland. It was a mess; bumbling, incompetant and farcical, leaving all frustrated. Just though you should know it did not sound like your nice clear PR report Dr Moores!

Anonymous said...

You are spot on 3.46am about the Seabathing. Developers down there have come up with an excellent project and deserve to reap their rewards.
I must say that I'm not surprised 8.43am about what you had to say about the Council meeting on Thursday. What continues to amaze me is that with 442 out of 452 comments lodged with the reviewing Inspector of Thanet Plan, all about Dreamland, one would have thought that TDC would have listened to its electorate on the issue. No wonder Cllr Kirby urges quick adoption of the Plan; get on with it fast before anyone changes their minds or before Thanet's people are really aware of what is going on; sets Option C in concrete with much rejoicing down at Waterbridge's offices. TDC have just increased their asset by about £16million and pushed it beyond the realm of compulsory purchase.
Hang on a minute, somebody has said that before. Ah yes, the Inspector did ,before his advice was ignored.

James Maskell said...

Annoyingly I had to leave the meeting for another event just as Cllr Latchford rose to do his acceptance speech as Deputy Leader (no offence was meant to him...I just had to leave).

With regards with Dreamland, I agree with the Policy as agreed by the Council. I think its a sensible one. I know that some readers here have concerns about the intentions of the Councillors here, but I think the Policy is good. I dont think its a free hand to developers (there are restrictions) and I dont think its so restrictive that it will put off developers.

The Dreamland policy, whichever way it is written, is going to lead to problems due to critics of all persuasions. As long as sufficient safeguards are in place, the policy is good.