My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Dreamland Relief, Reviews & Rip-Offs

I’m delighted that the Dreamland operators  have reached a voluntary agreement with their  creditors to repay a   reported £3 million worth of debts over the next 5 years. Although I have my doubts about the sustainability of this agreement I sincerely hope that it will succeed because  Dreamland is central to the regeneration of Margate and Thanet as whole. However, because the situation is financially fragile and there are lots of unknowns, I urge Thanet Council to  begin the urgent task of developing a Plan B for Dreamland just in case the voluntary agreement goes belly up. The last thing we want is for the park to be closed and left to rot and be vandalised as it was before. TDC should now be actively sounding out other potential management organisation who would be willing to  step in at short notice to run the park should Sands Heritage go under. The Council should also be seeking legal advice on protecting its interests should there by an insolvency situation and it should also be identifying and setting aside contingency funding to pay for its Plan B.

 Looking to protect the future of the this most important publically owned assets is of course  number one priority . But  I do feel that there is also an urgent need for there to be an enquiry into what went wrong and why TDCs flagship project almost went bust less than six months after it opened, placing in jeopardy at least £6million in council taxpayers  money,  not to mention the tens-of-£millions of lottery funding on top of that. For once, I am in agreement with North Thanet MP, Roger Gale, who has rightly said that the problems faced by Dreamland’s operator were largely caused by the incompetence and maladministration of senior managers and politicians at TDC. Having been on the  council at the time key decisions were made about Dreamland I concur with Roger Gale’s view about the culpability of TDC in the Dreamlands nightmare. I would go further and say that any alleged  incompetence in managing the Dreamland project   goes to the highest levels at TDC and that any enquiry should therefore be independent as it would not be right for top bosses to investigate themselves. Hopefully if an enquiry identifies and mismanagement there might well be much needed realignments in the offices quarters of the  good ship TDC.

But enquiries and contingency planning aside I would also like inform my readers that I am hearing extraordinary and quite alarming rumours about the procurement, repair and restoration of rides for Dreamland. If what I am hearing is true then it appears that the procurement, repair and restoration of rides is being managed by an extremely small number of companies – much smaller than the number of finger on one hand so I believe. It might be the case that this small number of companies may have secured their privileged position without having to compete and demonstrate how they would secure value for money. The rumours also allege that the various  trade associations  representing fair ground operators, who also facilitate and advise on the procurement, repair and  restoration  were not involved or consulted about  finding  supplier(s) of these services for Dreamland. Naturally this lack  of consultation and the placing of ride related contracts in the hands of a tiny group has led to speculation about value for money. Rumours  I have heard suggest that the Council (and possibly Sands Heritage) may have been paying 3,4 or even 5 times over the odds for the procurement, repair and restoration of some rides. Had the Council collaborated more openly with the various trade associations, who  are industry experts of many years standing, then its likely that any ride related  price inflation at Dreamland might not have been so steep. I sincerely hope that more information about this worrying development might come my way

 

 

8 comments:

  1. How exactly did Sands Hotel take over Dreamland given it was owned by Tdc ie us and they have gone bust in months?

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  2. How many other investor's were lined up??"

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  3. Sands Heritage would perform better if they Managed. What do they get for their money. Staff who 'I don't deal with that' or ex Cons handling cash or Securìty spending their time talking to staff. The Management needs to be reviewed in light of this insolvency disaster.

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  4. TDC Planning dept and Legal dept is useless and needs a clearout - this is just the latest of incompetent ventures. And how much are we paying for temps like Howes etc?

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  5. Repair and maintenance of fairground rides is a specialist occupation. There are relatively few companies (how many fairgrounds are there?) I'm afraid that Dreamland is doomed to be an ongoing financial disaster. Far too much money has been ploughed into the project for the kinds of revenues which can be generated. These days, people will pay big money for big spectacular rides like the ones you would have at Alton Towers. They aren't going to pay large sums to go on the dodgems or the ghost-train. What's gone wrong here is that you have allowed the council to get involved with things it doesn't understand and has no business getting involved with. Fairgrounds all over the country have been closing down for years because they aren't financially viable. If you are going to open a new fairground and make money, it simply can't be a carbon copy of the old one which was losing money hand over fist. It was a dreadful mistake to enter into a vastly expensive CPO without a solid plan for a financially viable replacement.

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    1. It is indeed a specialist occupation which makes it very surprising that the bulk of the restoration and supply of equipment has been given without public consultation or right to tender to one individual, whose primary business is IT solutions.

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    2. There are as far as I can tell two companies running Dreamland. Sands Heritage and Sands Property. Sand property appears to hold the lease for Dreamland and is not in administration. The rides at Dreamland were transferred to ownership to one of the Directors so Dreamland itself has pretty much no assets(Sands Heritage)

      Information in the public domain states between the CVA and administration a further £2M was lost, considering that most of the start up costs will have dropped out it suggest that trading was well below the figures plugged into the CVA

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  6. Why did you change your mind on manston?

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