Fri, 19 Feb 2016 | ADMINISTRATION
Dickens World, a tourist attraction complex based in Chatham, Kent, faces an uncertain future, according to Kent Online.
Previous owners of the venue did not renew their lease after it expired on 31 December 2015, and now talks are taking place with Medway Council to find a solution to the problem, including ideas around a change of use for the maritime venue.
It’s also believed that new management is about to take over the Britannia Theatre and Porter’s Bar, both of which are part of the same complex, and have plans for a major refurbishment.
Dickens World, which recreates the novels of English author Charles Dickens, opened for business in May 2007 at the £62 million leisure complex in Chatham.
At launch the tourist attraction featured a Great Expectations boat ride, a ‘4D’ movie at Peggy’s boathouse, a haunted house, an interactive Victorian schoolhouse and a Fagin’s den play area.
However, the attraction lost between £500,000 and £1 million each year, barely being kept afloat by its ownership of the neighbouring Odeon cinema and a restaurant.
Dickens World Ltd placed itself in administration, costing investors £32 million, when it was unable to pay an outstanding tax bill of £6 million.
The tourist attraction was taken over by Britannia Entertainments, which scrapped the boat ride and tried to establish the leisure complex as a high-profile venue for gigs and parties.
However, many gigs have been cancelled this year, including those of comedian Jenny Eclair and singer Joe Longthorn, leaving the future of the venue in doubt.
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