Documents published on the Companies House website reveal that Charles Whitbread of the Whitbread brewing family, and the current High Sherriff of Bedfordshire (http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/council/high-sheriff/charles-whitbread.aspx), loaned £500,000 to a company called Southeast Retail Limited in March 2016. Southeast Retail owns the Sands Hotel in Margate and one of its directors and part-owners is Nick Connington who is also a director of Sands Heritage, the operator of the Margate Dreamland Amusement Park.
The High Sherriff who is appointed by the Privy Council and acts as the Queen’s representative in Bedfordshire, has secured his £500,000 loan to Southeast Retail by placing a charge on most of the Dreamland Amusements Park’s fairground rides including the Big Wheel the Cyclone Twist, the Swing Boats and the Helter Skelter. If the loan is not repaid then the High Sherriff can muster a posse, mosey on down to Margate and seize the fairground rides. And the risk of that possibility looks to be growing.
According to Companies House both Sands Hotel Margate Limited and SouthEast Retail have failed to submit their annual accounts which were deadlined fir submission by late September 2016. Almost 2 months after the deadlines elapsed and nothing appears to have been submitted. Late submission of accounts is often seen as a symptom of a company in financial trouble and Companies House treat late submission extremely seriously here’s what they say
“Failure to file confirmation statements, annual returns or accounts is a criminal offence which can result in directors being fined personally in the criminal courts. Any criminal proceedings taken as a result of non-filing of confirmation statements, annual returns or accounts is separate from and in addition to any late filing penalty imposed against the company for filing accounts late. The registrar may also take steps to strike the company off the public record if these documents are delivered late. There is no late filing penalty imposed on confirmation statements or annual returns that have been filed late. Failure to pay the late filing penalty can result in enforcement proceedings”.So the question is will the High Sherriff of Bedfordshire and his posse be riding into town in the near future to seize his goods? If he does Dreamland will be left without most of its rides, apart from the Scenic Railway which isn’t working anyway. Yeee haaaa!! Ride them Dreamland cowboys!!