STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL
00:01 MONDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2009
Future of Britain’s Oldest Surviving Roller Coaster Secured by £3.7m Grant
In the most important landmark in the six-year campaign to save Dreamland Margate, the Government has today announced that it has awarded £3.7m to the project. This is the largest grant in the 2009 Sea Change programme, funded by DCMS (Department for Culture Media and Sport), which is designed to invigorate England’s seaside towns through investment in culture and heritage.
will allow the Grade II-listed Scenic Railway roller coaster, built in 1920 and
the oldest roller coaster in the UK, to be restored to its former glory. As well
as securing the long-term future of one of the best-loved seaside structures in
the country, the funding will allow the creation of the world’s first amusement
park exclusively comprised of thrilling historic rides.
CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) Chief Executive Richard Simmons, who has led the project on behalf of the Government, commenting on the seven coastal resorts that will be receiving a grant, said:
“These seven projects all demonstrate how culture can be a catalyst to recapture the flair that these places enjoyed in their heyday. I especially like the plan to regenerate Dreamland in Margate, and showcase the country’s oldest rollercoaster, a listed scenic railway. It is ambitious projects like this, creating new national attractions, that can rekindle the English love affair with our seaside.”
The Dreamland Margate project is being led by The Dreamland Trust, a not-for-profit company born out of the Save Dreamland Campaign. The £3.7m grant will help to create an exciting theme park from the past on the Dreamland site, giving the chance to enjoy spectacular historic amusement park rides. Many of these have been rescued by The Dreamland Trust from amusement parks across the UK over the past decade and many are the last surviving examples of their type.
The rides will be built around the centre piece of the park, the Scenic Railway, the oldest surviving roller coaster in the UK and the fourth oldest in the world. Restoration work will also be carried out on the Grade II*-listed Dreamland cinema building, creating a major new visitor attraction of international significance.
Nick Laister, who set up the campaign to save Dreamland and is now chair of The Dreamland Trust, said: "This is fantastic news and is yet another very positive step to delivering this world's first visitor attraction. We are very pleased that CABE and English Heritage share our view, and that of the people of Margate, that this proposal has the ability to create an outstanding, 21st-century attraction at Margate, capitalising on the resort's unique heritage in a way that will make a huge contribution to the regeneration of the town.
“The Scenic Railway roller coaster has not operated since 2006 and was badly damaged by fire following an arson attack last year. This grant should now secure the future of this remarkable structure and allow work to start on rebuilding it next year, along with all the other rides that we have rescued.
“I would like to thank our partners in the bid, and look forward to working with them over the coming months as we work towards reinstating Dreamland at the heart of Margate."
More details at:
Information for Editors
For interviews, please contact:
Nick Laister – Chair of the Dreamland Trust on 07778 207036. Email email@example.com
Nick will be in Margate and available for television interviews between 10am and 1pm on Monday 16 November. Please make contact on the above number.
The Save Dreamland Campaign was launched in 2003 to save the Dreamland Pleasure
Park, Margate, home of the UK’s oldest roller coaster, the 89-year-old listed
The Campaign is led by planning expert Nick Laister, a planning consultant and a leading authority on the British theme park industry. The Campaign is now supported by over 18,000 people, including local residents, businesses and organisations such as the Margate Civic Society, Margate Hotel and Guest House Association and Limbo Arts Ltd, as well as national and international groups including SAVE Britain’s Heritage, the European Coaster Club and the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain.
The official campaign website is www.savedreamland.co.uk <http://www.savedreamland.co.uk/> . The campaign can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> . The address for all correspondence is The Dreamland Trust, c/o The Shell Grotto, Grotto Hill, Margate, Kent CT9 2BU.
The Trust has negotiated the ‘rescue’ of a number of threatened vintage rides, most of which are now in storage in various locations. The rides include the Caterpillar, Water Chute, Whip, Wild Mouse and River Caves, and they have been acquired from Southport Pleasureland, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Rhyl’s Ocean Beach. In some cases, these represent the last surviving examples of their type.
Dreamland is located at Belgrave Road, Margate. The park is owned by Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, which is a partner in the Dreamland Margate project.
• The Sea Change programme runs for three years from 2008 to 2011, giving a range of large and small grants each year to seaside resorts. It is led by CABE working with the Regional Development Agencies, English Heritage, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund. It was announced in November 2007. DCMS press notice 147 which refers to this can be found at www.culture.gov.uk Press enquiries: 020 7211 6271.
• Earlier this year the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded The Dreamland Trust development funding of £493,000 to work up plans to progress the ground-breaking plans. Thanet District Council has provided 10% match funding for this grant.