This ominous warning forms part of Grant Thornton’s, soon to be published, annual audit of TDCs accounts for 2015-16. The annual audit also notes that the council has overspent the Dreamland budget by £1.2 million and highlights the risk posed to the council by the “site operator (Sands Heritage Ltd) having gone into administration” earlier this summer.Grant Thornton took the unusual step of identifying Dreamland as presenting a significant financial risk to TDC and recommending that an Action Plan is developed by TDC to oversee and closely monitor the troubled theme park.
Former Thanet Councillor, Ian Driver, who has published many articles about Dreamland on his internet blogsite Ian Driver’s Thanet said “allowing for diplomatic language, Grant Thornton’s comments about Dreamland amount to an extremely stark warning about the sustainability of the theme park. This is not the first time such warnings have been issued. In February 2015 GVA Grimely, one of the country’s largest commercial property consultants warned TDC that “there is considerable risk associated with the viability in a scheme of this nature” but this report was withheld from most councillors”.He added “according to the Council’s annual accounts £8.961 million of council tax payers money has already been invested by TDC into the compulsory purchase, restoration and opening of the Dreamland Amusement Park. This does not include the £900k compensation paid by TDC to Sands Heritage in a settlement to avoid a breach of contract court case in November 2015. Nor does it include the outstanding compulsory purchase compensation payment to the former owners of the Dreamland site which I reckon will be at least £2million. This brings TDCs total investment into Dreamland to at least £11.861 million or £86 for every man, woman and child living in Thanet. I have argued for a long time that the problems faced by the Dreamland Amusement Park are a direct result of managerial incompetence and poor political leadership by the Labour Party which was running the council when all the key decisions were taken. I have said it before and say it again; there needs to be an independent inquiry into the management of this troubled project”.