Friday, July 07, 2006

Ask Sandy About Dreamland

One of our readers asked that I “Ask Sandy” Ezekiel about the viability of Dreamland, the local plan and council policy for the amusement park and here is his answer.

"Given the Local Plan was moving close to adoption, we wanted to take this opportunity to examine the policy for Dreamland and put an appropriate policy in place. Not to have addressed the issue in the final version of the Local Plan would have been simply avoiding the issue and could have caused greater concern and misunderstanding in the future.

"The position is that the owners have to clearly demonstrate that whole or part of the site is not viable as an amusement park, before any other development can proceed. To date, we, as a Council, have met with two interested parties, one wanting five acres, but they were not prepared to put forward any capital costs, this would have fallen on the previous owner of Dreamland. This Council has had several meetings with Mr. P. Miller, who is also interested in the site and would need between seven and a half and eleven acres to ensure a first class family amusement park. We are currently facilitating meetings between the new owners of Dreamland, Margate Regeneration Company, and Mr. P. Miller. But let's remember that there is only so much that the Council can do on this issue. These are two private companies talking about a private piece of land to which the Council has no jurisdiction."

3 comments:

stuart said...

Absolute rubbish.

The Council has complete control over what happens at Dreamland. Unless Godden/Hunter have taken over the planning department that is.

Does Sandy accept that the current way in which the park is being run is not on? When will his enforcement department be enforcing the reinstatement of the sign on a listed building?** Why isn't the main entrance open this year? Why hasn't the obtrusive fence been removed from in front of the scenic station? (Despite planning refusal)

Why are the toilets at the site a portacabin this year when Dreamlands toilets were refurbished extensively a couple of years ago?

Everything is being done to sabotage the viability of this amusement park and first class operators are waiting in the wings yet the council does nothing.

The thing that confuses me most about this whole saga is WHY the elected representatives do not listen to the people that put them there in the first place.

Consultation after consultation the results are the same, no other issue in Thanet has ever produced such emotive opinions/protests/campaigns.

Now we hear Waterbridge are about to embark on their own 8 month consultation (obviously not happy with all the other previous consultations) to find out what I can tell them right now - we want to protect our no 1 tourist attraction and we want you and Jimmy to sell and move on.


**Did anyone else find it ironic to read about the Westbrook trader forced to remove her signage from her shop? This lady is struggling to trade in a deprived area and the council bend over backwards to enforce removal and jeopardise her business. All this at the same time as 200 yards down the road Waterbridge are allowed to remove signage from a listed building and nobody seems to give a toss. Oh the irony.

Maverick said...

Simon,

Thank you for asking the question. I have carried out my own limited investigation amongst friends, and it does certainly seem that generally the public want to retain an amusement park. In the absense of an alternative, that is the only sensible and democratic course to follow. For the council to have watered down the local plan to Mr Goddens advantage was foolhardy in the extreme, not "appropriate" as Sandy claims.

I cannot accept that TDC can sidestep this issue and blame the situation on the invlovement of, "private companies". There have been extensive studies and consultations, including the Tibbalds report, and "for the better planning or the area", TDC could use the various legislative options to facilitate this piece of regeneration, which would then set a worthwhile precedent. I get the distinct impression that the general public are getting fed up with the apathy within TDC.

Some good news though, I note the Governments Planning Advisory Service are at long last running courses to teach Councillors how to do their jobs properly. I hope our lot are aware of them, they start on 25th September.

Nick said...

The Dreamland situation is a disgrace and I agree with everything that stuart has said earlier - his views are entirely correct. The council seem not to care at all if the park is lost under new houses or shops. The town needs a tourist attraction and a revamped Dreamland will go a long way towards that. Why it seems pre-occupied with the Turner Centre, I can't understand. Margate, with all due respect, is not that kind of place and among wider society will never lose its image of kiss me quick and candy floss. The town should be capitalising on this image not fight a losing battle trying to shed it. After all Blackpool still thrives on this image quite happily.

I can only think there are some background goings on among the Freemasons of the area - nudge, nudge, funny handshake and all that!