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Thursday, 15 September 2016

Margate Dreamland: Auditor Questions Long Term Viability.

Auditors, Grant Thornton UK LLP, have warned  Thanet  District Council (TDC) that the “long term viability of the (Dreamland) theme park may be open to question” and that TDC should ensure that that it bears in mind the sustainability of the Dreamland project “when reaching decision regarding the application of any further public funds to the scheme”.

This ominous warning forms part of Grant Thornton’s, soon to be published,   annual audit of TDCs  accounts for  2015-16. The annual audit also notes that the council has overspent the Dreamland budget by £1.2 million and highlights the risk posed to the council by the “site operator (Sands Heritage Ltd) having gone into administration” earlier this summer.
Grant Thornton took the unusual step of identifying Dreamland as presenting a significant financial risk to TDC and recommending that an Action Plan is developed by TDC to oversee and closely monitor the troubled theme park.

Former Thanet Councillor, Ian Driver, who has published many articles about Dreamland on his internet blogsite Ian Driver’s Thanet said “allowing for diplomatic language, Grant Thornton’s comments about Dreamland amount to an extremely stark warning about the sustainability of the theme park. This is not the first time such warnings have been issued. In February 2015 GVA Grimely, one of the country’s largest commercial property consultants warned TDC that “there is considerable risk associated with the viability in a scheme of this nature” but this report was withheld from most councillors”.
He added “according to the Council’s annual accounts £8.961 million of council tax payers money has already been invested by TDC into the compulsory purchase, restoration and opening of the Dreamland Amusement Park. This does not include the £900k compensation paid by TDC to Sands Heritage in a settlement to avoid a breach of contract court case in November 2015. Nor does it include the outstanding compulsory purchase compensation payment to the former owners of the Dreamland site which I reckon will be at least £2million. This brings TDCs total investment into Dreamland to at least £11.861 million or £86 for every man, woman and child living in Thanet. I have argued for a long time that the problems faced by the Dreamland Amusement Park are a direct result of managerial incompetence and poor political leadership by the Labour Party which was running the council when all the key decisions were taken. I have said it before and say it again; there needs to be an independent inquiry into the management of this troubled project”.

3 comments:

  1. £12M of tax spent on Dreamland? Why aren't TDC discussing this? What was the £900k fine on TDC? Leader Wells is back to relying on secrecy for incompetence again...
    His Gazette article blaming LAbour for Manston because of the Local Plan is weak to say the least - when will he be reopening it as his/UKIP election pledge? If not resign. With Farage gone UKIP is of the past

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  2. How many days was the scenic railway ride open for in the summer holidays and how much did it cost to build?

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    1. From TC co tracts register:

      ContractValue 1843583
      Contractor Topbond Plc
      Description Scenic Railway, Dreamland, Margate: Structure Restoration
      Contract Start Date 01/09/2014
      Contract End Date 29/05/2015

      ContractValue 899456
      Contractor WGH Ltd
      Description Scenic Railway Track and Trains - Dreamland, Margate
      Contract Start Date 10/07/2014
      Contract End Date 29/05/2015

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