An Extraordinary Overview & Scrutiny Panel meeting will be held on Thursday 15 August to examine the recent Cabinet decision on Dreamland.
On Thursday 1 August, Cabinet members at Thanet District Council agreed a proposal that the freehold for Dreamland, Margate be sold to the site’s current lessee and operator of the amusement park, Sands Heritage Limited (SHL).
Any sale would include a restrictive covenant on use of the land and there are also planning policy restrictions to control future use and retain this for leisure. The heritage assets, some of which are Grade II listed will retain this status and therefore require certain obligations upon the owners.
The sale would only go ahead subject to the agreement of external funders regarding the removal of ongoing grant obligations upon the council and appropriate legal advice. In addition to which an independent valuation will need to be undertaken in order to ensure that best value is achieved.
Cllr Bob Bayford, Leader of Thanet District Council said: “As a council, following a widespread community campaign, we stepped in to protect Dreamland when it was a neglected site, falling into disrepair. This bold decision was necessary to secure its future at that time. We see the decision to now look at selling the freehold as the right one if we want to see Dreamland reach its full potential.
“Dreamland has been in public hands for just six of its 99 year history. We can be very proud of our intervention in what was a private sector failure and the turnaround that has been achieved. The purpose of the CPO has now been fulfilled. Under SHL, Dreamland has made a great contribution to a revitalised Margate and this is an opportunity to see it go from strength to strength.
“This approach is all about achieving best value for the site and the residents of Thanet who are rightly very proud of Dreamland and the contribution it makes to our visitor economy.”
The decision around the sale of Dreamland freehold is a measured one, taken after many months of consideration. Ahead of the Cabinet meeting, members were all invited to a special briefing on this matter. The full Cabinet report was published in advance in line with due process. Call in by the Overview & Scrutiny Panel is another part of that process and will give members further opportunity to examine the proposed plans.