Duff & Phelps’ report also reveals that Margate Dreamland operator, Sands Heritage, has racked up an operating deficit of £1,067,939 million during its first 6 months in administration which equates to losses of £41,000 per week. Duff and Phelps blame bad weather and the long-term closure of the scenic railway during the 2016 summer season as the major causes of this loss.
Duff and Phelps have also reported that Sands Heritage will remain in administration throughout 2017 and that there will be a substantial investment in the amusement park over the winter months which will be funded by offshore, Cayman Island registered, Arrowgrass Master Fund which owns 31% of Sands Heritage shares and who recently extended their loan facility to Sands Heritage to £10million. The additional investment and extension of the administration period will according to Duff and Phelps “enhance the financial performance” of Sands Heritage making the eventual sale of the business and its assets a much more attractive proposition.A major public investment of at least £20 million has been made in the acquisition, development and opening of Margate’s Dreamland Amusement Park. By the time any potential compensation claims and compulsory purchase order disputes have been settled, this could easily reach £30million. Two thirds of that total will have been paid for by Thanet council taxpayers which works out at £143 for every man, woman and child living in the district. This is a high price to pay for an Amusement Park which, for the past 6 months, has been losing over £41,000 per week; who’s operator failed owing unsecured creditors £5.25 million, and which is now entirely dependent for its survival on investments from an offshore, tax-dodging, hedge fund. Dreamland has now become, in my opinion, one of the largest public sector project management disasters in the country, characterised by what many people, including our 2 local MPs, believe to be breath-taking incompetence and maladministration. There is an urgent need for an independent public enquiry. Those identified by such an inquiry as being responsible for this disaster should be held to account and where appropriate dismissed from their posts.