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Second valuation of Dreamland in Margate to go ahead


A second valuation of the Dreamland site to “ensure sufficient breadth of comparable evidence” will be sourced, cabinet members have agreed.

It comes after the decision to sell the amusement park to its leaseholder, Sands Heritage Limited, was called in before the council’s scrutiny panel, which wanted to avoid a “Del Boy deal”.

Dreamland(16300261)
Dreamland(16300261)

Recommendations that three valuations be sought instead of the one agreed, and that the site be protected from housing development for 18 years rather than 10 years, were made.

While cabinet members decided to retain the 10-year housing backstop, they compromised on the number of valuations and another one is to be sought.

Labour councillors at Thanet District Council, however, have raised concerns over the sale and are calling for the inclusion of the car park to be rethought.

Cllr Rob Yates said: “The sale of Dreamland is one of the largest asset disposals in TDC’s history. The TDC Labour group has three issues with this sale.

“Firstly, ensuring the asset disposal process is followed. Secondly, we have concerns with how the heritage assets will be protected. Thirdly, we do not believe it is in the best financial interests of this council to be selling a revenue-creating car park.

Thanet district councillor Rob Yates (Lab) (16300283)
Thanet district councillor Rob Yates (Lab) (16300283)

“The sale of the 1930s Grade II-listed Sunshine cafe and the listed Dreamland cinema building is of concern. These are heritage assets with no current lease obligation. The cabinet have agreed the sale process and we are watching carefully to see that these assets will be protected.

“The piggybacked sale of a revenue-generating car park into this deal will not give TDC best value for money.

“We ask the cabinet to ensure the heritage assets are fully protected and to rethink the sale of a profit-making car park when Dreamland already own one.”

Responding to Cllr Yates’ comment, a spokesman for the council said that value of the car park “will be reflected in the sale price” and rebutted fears of the heritage assets not being protected.

They added: “We are at the start and not the end of the disposal exercise and further negotiations will take place to finalise the detailed conditions of the sale. The council is ensuring the asset disposal process is followed. A consultation period with ward councillors will be undertaken for 21 days.

Labour councillors are concerned about the sale of the car park
Labour councillors are concerned about the sale of the car park

“The listed heritage assets on the sites are protected and there will be ongoing obligations placed upon the new owners.

“The car park does make a surplus, however, there are capital and other maintenance works required which will affect any profit.The car park is an intrinsic part of the Dreamland complex and the overall experience will depend upon having this level of parking on the estate.

“The overall net cost of the whole complex, including the car park, is borne by council tax payers due to the council’s ownership of Dreamland, this is not a sustainable situation.”

A consultation into the sale runs until September 25.

Views should be sent to the ward councillors for Margate Central. Contact details are at thanet.gov.uk.

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