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North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale calls for public inquiry into the way Margate's Dreamland has been run

A politician is calling for a public inquiry into the way Dreamland has been run since opening last year.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale has also criticised Thanet District Council's role in the operation.

Mr Gale then said he wants whoever has been responsible for past failures at the theme park to be held to account.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale
North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale

The comments were made in a column he writes for Kent Online's sister newspaper, Thanet Extra.

It read: "Dreamland is now making a major contribution to the economy of Margate and of the Isle of Thanet.

"A pity, therefore, that Thanet District’s senior councillors should have sought to absolve themselves of blame for the shortcomings that bedevilled Dreamland’s 2015 season and to suggest that somehow the operators of the amusement park, Sands Leisure, were “guilty” of daring to try to open on time and to honour the undertakings to those to whom they were contractually liable and those to whom they had sold tickets.

Scenic Railway at Dreamland
Scenic Railway at Dreamland

"TDC has chosen to use its PR department to cast a slur on Dreamland’s operators.

Mr Gale then goes on to pose questions to TDC about their role in the park's operation.

He said: "Was it TDC or the operators who were responsible for the failure to deliver the restored Scenic Railway, promised for June 2015, until after the end of the summer season in October?

"TDC has chosen to use its PR department to cast a slur on Dreamland’s operators..." - North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale

"Was it TDC or the operators who failed to deliver contracted heritage rides in time for the opening of the park, leaving the operators having to use scarce resources to fund hired-in attractions?

"Was it TDC and its contractors or the operators who failed, in 2015 and in 2016, to deliver the all-weather indoor areas in time to book attractions to see the enterprise through the winter?

"Given that TDC seek to hold the operators responsible for ‘failure’, did TDC or did it not pay a sum in compensation for breach of contract, and if so how much, and was that money then paid in full to creditors?

"Did TDC authorise the supply of a cheap pulley-rope for the Scenic Railway, resulting in the need to take the amusement park’s major attraction out of service while the operators were left to source a replacement during the peak season?

"Is the landlord (TDC) responsible for the maintenance of the roof and guttering that failed leading to the flooding and refurbishment, at present at the operators’ expense, of the highly popular and all-weather Octopus’s Garden?"

In Mr Gale's final statement he says he agrees with Ian Driver's call for a public inquiry.

Mr Gale said that he wanted it to examine the difficulties that have been faced by Dreamland and to hold those responsible, to public account.

Thanet District Council
Thanet District Council

However, TDC has defended its role in the running of the amusement park.

In a statement issued on its website last week after the creditors' meeting, the council said the administrator had corrected inaccuracies about its role.

Spokesman Hannah Thorpe said: “The council is therefore disappointed to see a local MP continue to misquote information about its role in the local media and invites Sir Roger Gale to engage directly with the council to establish the facts.

“The council invites Sir Roger Gale to engage directly with the council to establish the facts.

“The council does not wish to reprise past events and thinks the focus should now be firmly on the future, working positively with the administrator to help keep the park open.

“With this in mind the council is delighted to learn that successful repair to the Scenic Railway is anticipated to see the iconic ride back up and running this week.”

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