Fairground site legal fight looms; Pleasureland owners deny 'dangerous state' claims EXCLUSIVE.
SEFTON Council is set to sue the former owners of Southport's Pleasureland site for hundreds of thousands of pounds, the Daily Post can reveal.
Sefton bought the site from Pleasureland Ltd for pounds 7.25m last year after the company closed the site in September, 2006, because it was no longer commercially viable to operate as a fairground.
Last night, Labour leader Peter Dowd said the council was handed back the site in a "dangerous" state, and that light sockets had been stripped from buildings.
Pleasureland declined to comment, but it is understood that the thrust of their argument is that they had permission to remove items from the site for use at its Blackpool Pleasure Beach operation, and vigorously deny any wrongdoing.
The Daily Post understands Pleasureland claim that the site was to be sold in a derelict state so that it could be re-developed.
Cllr Dowd said a hole had been left in the roof of one of the buildings after a crane had been used to remove machines from inside.
Sefton spent around pounds 350,000 to make the site safe and secure following Pleasureland's departure from the site, he said.
The council claims the company was in breach of the conditions of the sale and that the site had been left in a "dangerous" condition.
Buildings that the council had hoped it could lease out had been stripped and the council will claim it would not have been cost effective to repair them.
Cllr Dowd said the council would also be claiming loss of income from Pleasureland as a result of the state the site was left in.
"I don't know what the motivation of the company was in doing what it did - that's going to be for the court.
"But I was shocked by the extent of the damage to our asset.
"We will continue to seek legal advice and will be pushing for legal action."
He said the loss of income to the council was at least pounds 500,000.
The Daily Post understands that, in the period surrounding the handover, council officials arrived at the waterfront site and stopped workers from removing items.
But then, at a future date, it allowed the company back on to the site when more items were removed.
This may limit the extent of the council's claim.
In June last year, the council agreed a short term lease for the 25-acre site with leisure operator Dreamstorm until the end of the 2008 season.
A spokesman for Sefton Council said: "We are considering legal proceedings and a response is awaited from Pleasureland Ltd.
"We will consider our position when we receive a reply."
A spokesman for Pleasureland Ltd said: "It is in the hands of our lawyers, so it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time."
Claim that firm was in breach of terms of sale
The remnants of Pleasureland, after it shut down in Southport; Cllr Peter Dowd