Cost of seafront blaze could top £5m

THE cost of the fire that devastated part of Margate seafront could run into millions of pounds.

As demolition teams move in to clear the tangled wreckage on the town's famous Golden Mile, insurance assessors said the estimated bill, including interruption to business, "may be in excess of £5 million”.

Neighbouring businesses either side of the gaping hole left where Mr G's amusement arcade turned to ashes in the fierce blaze are counting the cost and facing an uncertain summer season.

Meanwhile businesses and Thanet council are trying to reinforce the message that Margate IS open for tourist business.

Crisis talks have been held by Margate Town Partnership, Thanet council and other interested groups to discuss the short and long term future.

Dreamland fun park, which this season has been leased from Mr G's owner Jimmy Godden by international fairground operators Carousel Fun, opened on April 12.

A spokesman for Carousel Fun said: "The fire was a terrific blow for Margate seafront but Dreamland will continue to operate as usual.

"It is important that residents and visitors to the town realise that we are still up and running. Although a couple of the more popular Dreamland rides will not be available this year, there is still much to attract families for a good day out, and we have reduced prices as well.

"It has been a difficult six months for Dreamland since Mr Godden decided to close the fun park at the end of this year. Many options are being considered by different groups but our aim is to ensure we have a really lively and happy season."

Margate MP Roger Gale believes the fire dopens the way for discussions about all weather leisure attractions such as indoor crown bowling, indoor tennis, and an indoor seafront pool.

He said: "A hotel and restaurant with panoramic views built at first and second floor level with a walkway into the Dreamland site beneath could be another long term solution.

"In the short term I would like to see some sort of attraction to fill the gap this year -- perhaps a small funfair or a traditional Punch and Judy show, with suitable screening behind it."

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