Thanet Star

Dreamland vs Tesco

Is Dreamland the key to Margate's future?

Dreamland (Scenic Railway) - Margate
The guardian is reporting today on the approaching final verdict on Dreamland. In less than two months there will be a four-day public inquiry after which (28th February) the local government secretary, Eric Pickles, is to decide the fate of the site.

Margate waits for verdict on derelict Dreamland amusement park [guardian.co.uk] also picks up on the topic of the proposed Tesco and the admittedly dire tower block that somehow was granted permission to be built so long ago.

Mary Portas (she of whom I have not the highest reputation) has been rightly critical of the Tesco build which, while it might bring a handful of new jobs, will also bring a lot of traffic to an already gridlocked area. Potentially Tesco could, in the long term, cost more in lost employment as those that work outside of Margate are forced to relocate to get passed the seafront gridlock.

This is not just alarmism there are a number of reports strongly critical of the ability of the seafront to handle any more traffic. We are not talking making the place busy but making it unusable and unsafe. Our main train station is the other side of the round about most likely to gridlock. That means that people coming to the new dreamland or to the revived high street (we can live in hope) must first pass through an excessive traffic area. so for the short term gain of a handful of jobs we could loose enough businesses to employ tens of times as many people.

If it came to a case of Dreamland Vs Tesco how would you vote?

On the one hand Tesco might bring, say, 40 jobs to the area but very little new visitors. The ugly tower block might get renovated a bit too. The cost is traffic chaos and possibly a reduction in visitors to the town, Dreamland and the Turner Centre. Cost in jobs twenty shops, a heritage park and an art gallery. Net loss.

On the other hand with Dreamland being built instead traffic flows into Margate. Thus the shops will perk up (jobs) and the park will employ, say, between 30 and 80 people. The increase of economic activity in the town should lead to further jobs and that in tern to more economic activity. While we might get "just as many jobs" as Tesco could have given us we also have a tourist trade again.

Given the choice there is no choice.

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