Looking to protect the future of the this most important publically owned assets is of course number one priority . But I do feel that there is also an urgent need for there to be an enquiry into what went wrong and why TDCs flagship project almost went bust less than six months after it opened, placing in jeopardy at least £6million in council taxpayers money, not to mention the tens-of-£millions of lottery funding on top of that. For once, I am in agreement with North Thanet MP, Roger Gale, who has rightly said that the problems faced by Dreamland’s operator were largely caused by the incompetence and maladministration of senior managers and politicians at TDC. Having been on the council at the time key decisions were made about Dreamland I concur with Roger Gale’s view about the culpability of TDC in the Dreamlands nightmare. I would go further and say that any alleged incompetence in managing the Dreamland project goes to the highest levels at TDC and that any enquiry should therefore be independent as it would not be right for top bosses to investigate themselves. Hopefully if an enquiry identifies and mismanagement there might well be much needed realignments in the offices quarters of the good ship TDC.
But enquiries and contingency planning aside I would also like inform my readers that I am hearing extraordinary and quite alarming rumours about the procurement, repair and restoration of rides for Dreamland. If what I am hearing is true then it appears that the procurement, repair and restoration of rides is being managed by an extremely small number of companies – much smaller than the number of finger on one hand so I believe. It might be the case that this small number of companies may have secured their privileged position without having to compete and demonstrate how they would secure value for money. The rumours also allege that the various trade associations representing fair ground operators, who also facilitate and advise on the procurement, repair and restoration were not involved or consulted about finding supplier(s) of these services for Dreamland. Naturally this lack of consultation and the placing of ride related contracts in the hands of a tiny group has led to speculation about value for money. Rumours I have heard suggest that the Council (and possibly Sands Heritage) may have been paying 3,4 or even 5 times over the odds for the procurement, repair and restoration of some rides. Had the Council collaborated more openly with the various trade associations, who are industry experts of many years standing, then its likely that any ride related price inflation at Dreamland might not have been so steep. I sincerely hope that more information about this worrying development might come my way