One imagines there was an almighty kerfuffle at Cecil Square on Wednesday when Richard Buxton solicitors, acting on behalf of a group of Margate residents and businesses, sent a letter informing TDC, that for them to issue a Decision Notice on Freshwater's application for a superstore as big as two football pitches, it would be unlawful. The reason? As detailed on the Arlington House blog, the Scenic Railway at Dreamland was upgraded to Grade II* on July 7th. This is considered a 'Material Consideration' requiring the whole application to come back to Planning Committee to be reconsidered.
Conversations with English Heritage and other consultees indicate that greater scrutiny will be placed on the sensitivity of the site, now nestled between a number of Grade II and now two Grade II* structures. Importantly the Scenics recent upgrade cited the importance of 'Group Value' of The Dreamland Cinema, The Scenic Railway and the Menagerie Cages that run along the perimeter of the Dreamland site:
"The Scenic Railway at Dreamland, Margate, built in 1920 by JH Iles for his new American-style amusement park is recommended for listing at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Rarity: it is the oldest surviving roller coaster in Britain and is of international importance as the second oldest in Europe and amongst the five oldest in the world of this prominent C20 entertainment structure; * Design: Scenic railways are amongst the earlier types of roller coaster design and it is an internationally important surviving example of this technology; * Townscape value: as an important and evocative aspect of the seaside heritage of Margate, one of the earliest and foremost English seaside resorts, and Dreamland, its principal amusement park ; * Group value: it groups with Dreamland's other listed buildings the Grade II* cinema and Grade II menagerie."
Perhaps this time round we will actually get a S106 agreement that works for the town and not to refurbish the applicant's own property and a traffic survey conducted not in winter but in summer and to also include a fully functioning Turner Contemporary with revised visitor figures and projected figures for the reopened Dreamland.
And what great timing. There is a piece in today's Guardian about Tesco's influence as an 'amighty conglomerate' and urging Mary Portas, who will soon be visiting Margate, as part of the Government Funded review into the future of the high street.