Monday, June 30, 2008

Dusting For Prince

You know me, I could never be accused of cynicism. Ahem. But news that the Prince's Regeneration Trust has been commissioned by Dreamland developers Waterbridge to scribble yet another report on future uses for the site seems a tad like Charlie's eponymous forbear being asked to fill out a post execution survey for the Choppers' Union.

There have been so many schemes, plans and inspections regarding what is now effectively a deserted piece of prime sea front real estate with a few bits of Grade II listed charcoal scattered about, that most Thanetians have given up wasting their precious head space on the topic. Our beloved council have come out in favour of a 'mixed development', giving over the majority of the site (well, 51%) to a 'heritage theme park', with the rest consisting of the usual luxury apartments etc. Even the Save Dreamlanders appear to have given up the ghost and gone over to the other side, getting into bed with the developers on the promise of a funfair full of knackered old rides that have been bought up from other seaside towns who've been glad to see the back of them.

The Princes Regeneration Trust is no doubt likely to reiterate the same old nonsense. Meanwhile Her Majesty's Rozzers have yet to come up with anything other than a big, fat zero in their arson investigation. So if any of you harboured any thoughts of PC Plod and Big Ears coming to the rescue - dream on! (PS: I have now removed the O' from my name as this post has no doubt put paid to any chances of me copping something in the New Year's Honours.)

Click here for Dreamland story in yourfannit
Click here for press release from the Prince's Regeneration Trust

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who in their right mind would buy a luxury apartment next to a theme park.

You would have to have rocks in your head!

Anonymous said...

Anyone for a sweep stake on the number of days/weeks before the rest of the scenic burns down?

Anonymous said...

I give it until then end of the year

Anonymous said...

Do you reckon it will all end up as luxury flats?

Anonymous said...

Do you reckon it will all end up as luxury flats?

Anonymous said...

Oops, didn't mean for my comment to appear twice.

Anonymous said...

TDC planning department will surely roll over and have their tummies tickled whatever Waterbridge want.

Anonymous said...

The heritage fun park will NOT be 'full of knackered old rides that have been bought up from other seaside towns who've been glad to see the back of them' as you suggest. SDC have a very detailed plan for the site of which the Scenic forms the backbone. It will be a superb complement to Margate's seaside heritage and will attract a large number of visitors to the trown. I suggest you get your facts straight before you mouth off next time.

Anonymous said...

Without the Save Dreamland campaign there wouldn't even be 50% of the site remaining as a park, Godden would have had it all as flats 5 years ago if he'd got his own way.

ECR : If you know a great way to wrestle the entire site from the developers or remove TDC's original balls up in allowing other uses on the site then please let everyone know.

Eastcliff Richard said...

I guess compulsory purchase would be the only way. But that would take a council with courage... and money. Neither of which are in plentiful supply at TDC.

Anonymous said...

Surely ECR that could only be done if there was a pressing need for e.g a housing development, utility works or a new road? Or maybe airport expansion!

Anonymous said...

What is the Kent Police Record on catching arsonists, barracks bombers, saboteurs, importers of illegal firearms and mains electricity distribution attackers ?

And what is their record on out of court settlements for assaults ?

Their record on custody deaths ?

Officer suicides and breakdowns ?

Officers convicted as criminal liars and prisoner neck breakers ?

Officers convicted of blacking their own eyes to blame it on a prisoner ?

Officers who murder their own families ?

Officers who fire pistols at people using JCBs ?

Officers who leak warnings of drugs warrant raids ?

Officers who use anabolic steroids ?

Officers who steal evidence ?

The funny thing is the Old Bill carp on and plead endlessly for public sympathy about the Home Office stats forms they have to fill in (oooh paperwork hurts our heads buzziung wiv steroids an at)

But for all the stats ... no answers to the above questions.

Ken Gregory said...

Ok guys and lasses, Here comes the current chair of planning.

Our planning committee is independent, it has no political mandate, and is not bound by 'whips' on individual planning applications.

Ie it looks after your interests. You may not believe this, but I can assure you that is our aim.

The biggest mistake people make is that because they have a problem with an aplication, their view is correct. Not so. There are two sides to every argument, at a decision one side will feel really hacked off. It does not mean they were right.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Now, now, IB... I've told you more than once. Please save your comments for your own blog.

However, I'll let that one pass on this occasion on the basis it could be your quota of one, non-rhyming poem. As I said before, you're limited to one poem per post.

Anonymous said...

There is no need for more flats in Margate, we already have enough unsold retirement flats, unsold luxury flats at the old hospital site. What is now needed is a tourist attraction that will attract people back to our seriously declining town. Originally, had the planners got it right it should have been a shopping centre and attractions etc instead of Westwood X etc.

Anonymous said...

Ken Gregory paying you a visit - cant get his point across to normal voters so keeps looking in on your blogs - be flattered ecr you are one of 2 premier sounding posts! he is a brave man to refuse anything Jimmy G wants.
He wants to watch it if he doesnt let decisions go their way he'll be on the same route as Bill Hayton with inexperience being the reason this time not experience.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you'd find too many SDC members who wouldn't like the compulsory purchase of the site and it's return to a successful full size amusement park.

With the site's value having gone from the £5million mark to around £30 million through it's various changes of hands I think the owners would fight any attempt at CPO quite aggressively.

It does seem strange to knock the SDC for trying to keep something on the site rather than chucking the towel in and watching some lovely flats go up!

Anonymous said...

I am glad that Cllr Ken Gregory, Current Chair ( item that you sit on! ) of planning thinks that they look after our interests!

At a recent site meeting, comments from the public were banned, and councillors rebuked by Cllr Gregory for talking to members of the public!

He has himself stated that this is not an ideal situation.

I am sure that the public will eventually be allowed to speak at such site visits, but only AFTER China Gateway has been patted through!

Anonymous said...

Its a shame we still have to look to the past to fill a void on the seafront and a more imaginative attraction cannot be found.

bertie biggles said...

The Prince's Trust chaps have obviously been misled about the present status of Dreamland by describing it in terms that indicates it exists! Have they been fooled by the signs on The Thanet Way as well? TDC had it in its power to accept the findings of an Independent Inspector concerning The Dreamland Site and decided instead to opt for a mixed development use that conservatively doubled its value over-night from £16m to £32million. We will not see Dreamland built on for many years to come because of that decision and the present problems in the housebuilding industry. The SDC campaign, sold out their campaign by sitting down with Waterbridge and accepting the concept of a 'heritage park'. Commercially it is a non-starter or otherwise it would now be happening. It clearly is not. Its about as sensible as spending £17 million on an art gallery to attract visitors. Instead we have a burned out Scenic Railway and Waterbridge 'begging' to The Prince's Trust; someone needs to inform HRH that they have been sold pig in a poke. Over to you Dickie, old boy! Could get more than an OBE for putting Charles right over this.

Eastcliff Richard said...

You have a point there, Bertie old bean. The guy heading up the Prince's Trust report claims to be a funfair fan, it would be surprising if he didn't know the full history of the site. Quite what Waterbridge hope to gain I'm not sure... I presume they are after a grant or some such to repair the Scenic.

Let's face it, no developer in their right mind would plonk luxury flats next to a funfair, heritage or otherwise, as potential buyers would surely run a mile from the thought of all the noise and disturbance. When the Scenic burnt down in April, they said they had been planning to put it in a kind of lake setting, with tasteful lighting etc. Kind of preserved in aspic. That would surely make more sense for them?

Or are they yet again stalling for time while they find another buyer or wait for the market to improve? Either way, I agree Bertie, this should and could have been sorted yonks ago!

Anonymous said...

Why did the council not adhere to the government inspectors report all those years ago which categorically stated the site should remain for leaisure purposes?

Eastcliff Richard said...

Over to you for that one Ken...

Eastcliff Richard said...

Ken? Ken? Typical. There's never a councillor around when you need one!

Anonymous said...

Ken's gone looking for his leader to tell him what to say most likely!

Anonymous said...

Waterbridge obviously has a cash flow problem if it cannot get on and sort out the 'Heritage Park' concept it has been talking about for ages.

I find it obscene that The Prince's Trust is being tapped as are other funding sources, to repair and get the mess sorted out. No insurance money coming in on this? Was it insured? If Waterbridge has sat on this asset for years without putting their own money where their mouths are, why should Charitable Trusts and tax-payers funded quango's be expected to do so? The bodies concerned need to look at Waterbridge and its main players with the same jaundiced eye as I and many fellow Thanetonians do; they might then get a clearer picture of what this is all about.

Anonymous said...

Ken, Ken, wherefore art though Ken?

ken said...

Eh? Can't hear you!

Anonymous said...

We all know that the new planning Chair, Councillor Callme-ken Gregory, has been making comments here and on Thanetstrife, however, he has now gone missing!

After his outbursts about "representing local interests" and his other comments about "fat ugly birds(?)" he has disappeared from the ether, and no amount of calling "Callme-ken, Callme-ken, wherefore art though, Callme-ken" has raised a response.

Please ECR help the "Find Callme-ken Campaign".