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."