According to a bio published on Cornernstone’s website Mary Cook has considerable CPO experience. She “advises and appears for both acquiring authorities and objectors at public inquiries held to consider compulsory purchase orders made under a wide variety of statutory powers; town and country planning, urban regeneration, housing and highways, by Government departments, local authorities and other promoters. She also advises on claims for compensation for compulsory purchase and appear in the Lands Tribunal in such cases. Other inquiry work undertaken includes appeals concerning purchase notices and applications for certificates of appropriate alternative development under the Land Compensation Act 1961”.
GL Hearn’s website says that David Conboy “is a key member of the CPO team who joined GL Hearn as a CPO Surveyor in October 2008 having previously worked for District Valuer Services (DVS), a department of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). David has successfully represented a broad base of clients in the negotiation of claims for compensation on behalf of land owners and occupiers facing acquisition and the valuation of land/property scheduled to be compulsory acquired”. Graeme Tully’s bio says that his “specialist area is the planning, development and delivery of major mixed use town centre and area wide regeneration projects, where he is one of the UK’s leading advisors to both private and public sectors”.
Putting together a specialist CPO negotiating team of such a high calibre will, I think, leave Thanet Council with very little change out of £100,000. The choice of the Dreamland Dream Team members is a clear indication that Thanet Council are involved in high stakes discussions with the former owners and that they are taking the £16million compensation claim extremely seriously. Even if, as is usually the case, a meet-in-the-middle compromise deal of £8-10 million is eventually agreed with the former owners, I wonder how TDC will be able to pay now that its cash reserves are so dangerously low (see my previous post here )
Compensation in the order of £8-£10million means that Thanet council taxpayers will have paid a total of £20 million towards the purchase and restoration of the Dreamland Amusement Park. That’s the equivalent of £145 for every man, woman and child living in Thanet. Add on to this over £10million funding from Kent County Council, the Heritage Lottery Foundation and various Government grants and the total public money invested into the Dreamland project is an astounding £30million!!!
And for what? A Park with its main attraction, the iconic scenic railway, non-operational for more than half the time the park has been open. A park with its operator Sands Heritage in administration. A park with its leasehold agreement with Thanet Council and most of its rides in hoc to a tax dodging, offshore, Cayman registered hedge fund and the High Sherriff of Bedfordshire. And with the Dreamland Trust ,who is supposed to represent the community interest in the park, remaining pathetically and shamefully silent about these unacceptable fairground shenanigans.
By anybody’s standards Margate Dreamland has been unmitigated fuck-up. The people who have paid for this £30million public investment have been badly let down by Thanet Council’s politicians and senior officers; by the park operator; by the Dreamland Trust. If these incompetent fools had any remaining vestiges of decency they would have apologised and resigned ages ago. But of course they have no shame and don’t understand the meaning of public accountability.
I have said before and will say it again there must be an independent public enquiry into Margate’s Dreamland Nightmare and those responsible should be named and shamed. No hiding behind a Dreamland Dream Team to protect your arses fess up your failings and face the music.
Talking of music here's 10cc's take on Dreamland - Art for Arts Sake Money for Gods Sake