Save Dreamland: Latest News

The latest news from the Save Dreamland Campaign:

Friday, 11 July 2014

New Dreamland documentary released on Youtube
The official story of the campaign to save Dreamland has been released with the new documentary Dreaming of Dreamland.

The documentary, commissioned by The Dreamland Trust, is directed by leading television director Tim Leandro, whose credits include directing duties on numerous episodes of EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City, Hollyoaks and The Bill.

The 30-minute film about Margate and its classic amusement park, Dreamland, tells the story of how a community decided to take a stand against the loss of its most famous and iconic attraction.

The film includes interviews with The Dreamland Trust team that is bringing Dreamland back, including Eddie Kemsley, Wayne Hemingway, Sarah Vickery, Susan Marsh and Nick Laister. It visits Wakefield and shows several rides destined for the amusement park in the process of restoration, including interviews with ride restorer David Littleboy and the man who is bringing back the Scenic Railway, Tony Brown of Doncaster's WGH Engineering.

Narrated by Barbara Windsor, the documentary can be viewed in HD on Youtube or you can show your support and watch it in the Dreamland Expo Cinema on the big screen in high quality. The film is showing all day in the Expo, which is open 7 days a week, 10am - 5pm. 

The film was launched at a special premier party at the Dreamland Expo on the evening of 10 July. Following the documentary showing, there was Q&A with the film's director, Tim Leandro, and Dreamland designer, Wayne Hemingway.

Click here to watch documentary in HD.


Above: Documentary director Tim Leandro and Dreamland designer Wayne Hemingway answering questions about the film at the launch event. (Photo: Nick Laister)
Below: Dreamland Trust chairman Nick Laister with EastEnders actress Lucy Speed at the documentary launch event. (Photo: Tim Leandro)

 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Dreamland in the New York Times!
Click here to view a positive new article in the New York Times about Margate, which mentions Dreamland and The Dreamland Trust.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Arson attack on Scenic Railway UPDATED 30/5/14

The Save Dreamland Campaign has learnt that there was an arson attack on a stall underneath the Scenic Railway this evening. At about 8.30pm this evening smoke was reported by Beacon Bingo at Dreamland. Someone had broken into the site and a fire had been lit in the end of the scenic nearest the blue sheds and a number of panes of glass had been smashed. The fire brigade came quickly and the fire was successfully put out. We understand there to be no serious damage. The site is now being boarded up and secured. More news when it becomes available.

UPDATE 08:00 29/5/14: News reports on various websites including the Isle of Thanet Gazette, Kent Online and ITV.

UPDATE 0:00 30/5/14: More news reports, including Isle of Thanet Gazette, BBC News, ITV News and Kent News.

UPDATE 20:00 30/5/14: More news reports: ITV News and Thanet Gazette.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Dreamland Expo opens! UPDATED 27/5/14
Dreamland Expo - an interactive and immersive exhibition evoking the atmosphere of Dreamland, charting the revival of one of the UK’s best loved amusement parks and looking forward to things to come - opened today at 2pm.

After two short introductions by Dreamland Trust Project Director Eddie Kemsley and Chairman Nick Laister, the ribbon was cut by the Trust's company secretary Susan Marsh. Then the crowds flooded into the former arcade building and had a taste of things to come, with elements from various rides that will be operating in Dreamland and a cinema showing archive film. Over 1,000 people walked through its doors and the atmosphere was electric.

The exhibition is free entry and will be open every day from 10am until 5pm with occasional fund raising music events, film screenings, presentations and activities throughout the year.

As well as the pinball museum, face painting and Dreamland souvenir stall, Dreamland Remembered author Nick Evans was present at the event signing his new book Dreamland Revived, which updates his earlier title with over 40 new photos and brings the Dreamland story up to date. It is available at a discount price from Joyland Books and is also available from Amazon.

The Dreamland Expo opening was covered by ITV Meridian News and was filmed by the Isle of Thanet Gazette, viewable on YouTube. See news reports in the Gazette and Kent Online.

There is more information on the Dreamland Expo on the Dreamland Margate website and on the official Dreamland Facebook page.


Above: Trust chairman Nick Laister addresses the crowd with Susan Marsh and Sarah Vickery behind. Sarah's daughter Min held the ribbon. Below: Inside Dreamland Expo. Click images for larger versions.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Dreamland Expo

DREAMLAND EXPO: A PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE opens at Dreamland Margate on Sunday 25th May 2014 at 2pm with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony. This is The Dreamland Trust's new visitor centre, an exciting exhibition evoking the atmosphere of Dreamland, charting the journey towards the revival of one of the UK’s best loved amusement parks and looking forward to things to come.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Dreamland ride restoration underway
Restoration of the rides that will be operating in Dreamland in 2015 is moving forward apace. A large number of rides are being restored at David Littleboy's warehouse in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, including the former Dreamland Gallopers, the large Hurricane Jets, the Austin Car Ride and the children's Double Decker rocket ride. Other rides are being restored or are in storage ready for operation next year in other locations, which are currently undisclosed.

ITV News carried a report on the Wakefield restorations today, featuring interviews with ride restorer David Littleboy, engineer Roger Sibley and the Dreamland Trust's Jan Leandro. Click here to view.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Scenic Railway contractors on site

The engineers who will be bringing the Scenic Railway back to life were on site last week, pictured here in the Scenic Railway's engine room. With restoration now underway on a number of rides off-site, work is starting to gear up! (Photo: Jan Leandro)

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Dreamland legend passes away
News has reached the Save Dreamland Campaign that one of Dreamland's most well-known characters has died. Henry Frederick Smith, an extremely popular travelling showman, who had many rides in Dreamland during the 1970s up until 1982, brought the first Orbiter in the world to the park.

He died on 12 December 2013, three days shy of his 78th birthday, after a long and hard battle with Parkinson's disease, which his grandson Henry Martin told the Campaign "slowly but surely robbed him of all the things he loved".

Click on the image to the right for a larger version.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Dreamland on The One Show
Dreamland was featured on BBC One's The One Show with Chris Evans on Friday evening.

The show included extensive footage of the park through the years, mixed with interviews with various people involved in the rebuilding of the site. The project's creative designer Wayne Hemingway joined Chris Evans in the studio afterwards and spoke enthusiastically about the work he is doing on the project.

View the programme on iPlayer for the next 7 days here. Dreamland is the first report.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

2,300 people attend Dreamland open gate event
At mid-day yesterday Dreamland Trust chairman Nick Laister cut the ribbon and allowed the public to take back Dreamland at a special open gate event. 2,300 people attended the event, and everyone was allowed to walk underneath the Scenic Railway and into the heart of Dreamland, areas that have not been open to the public for 7 years.

Visitors could meet the Dreamland Trust team and sign up as volunteers. They could have their photo taken sitting on Whip cars from Blackpool, plant a seed for Dreamland, view the plans and see models of Dreamland from the 1960s. There was music, vintage clothing, pantomime characters and live music. Souvenir newspapers were on sale for £1, providing information on the history of Dreamland and the rides that will form Phase 1 of the project.
 


Dreamland employees from different eras of the park - together at the Dreamland Trust's event
In the evening, a special auction was held, selling artwork donated by well-known people, such as Tracey Emin and Vic Reeves. Numerous celebrities were in attendance in the evening, including Brenda Blethyn, Vic Reeves, Nancy Sorrell, Janet Street-Porter, John Challis and others. The Dreamland Trust's creative designer Wayne Hemingway gave an opening talk before handing over to TV auctioneer Mark Stacey. This was followed by a party at the new Morgans, Margate's new vintage dance hall. In all, around £25,000 was raised towards the Dreamland Visitor Centre, which will open next spring.

The event has been well covered by the media. You can view the BBC South East Today news and ITV Meridian news items, and the event was recorded by the BBC's The One Show for use in a future edition.

It was also covered by The Mirror, Kent Online, Thanet Gazette daytime event and Thanet Gazette evening event. Dreamland is also featured in a recent article on regeneration in Thanet in Kent Online.

UPDATE 18 November 2013: Kent News reports on the event.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The October 2013 issue of the Dreamland Trust Newsletter is now available to download. This provides an update on work on the Dreamland Margate project by The Dreamland Trust, including the latest news on our rides. This has already been sent by email to all those who have signed up for the Campaign. If you would like to get a copy of the newsletter before it appears on this website, please join our mailing list.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Owners' appeal dismissed
We are pleased to report that the Court of Appeal has dismissed the former owners' appeal against the High Court decision to uphold the the confirmation of the CPO.

The news was covered by BBC News, ITV News, Isle of Thanet Gazette, Kent Online, Kent News, Heart Radio, Thanet Press Releases.

UPDATE 9 OCTOBER: The full judgment is now available to download here.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Court of Appeal hears latest challenge from MTCRC
The latest appeal by MTCRC to challenge Thanet District Council's compulsory purchase of the Dreamland site has been heard today at the Court of Appeal. Details are on BBC News.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Dreamland transfers to Thanet District Council
Ownership of the iconic Dreamland site in Margate has transferred to Thanet District Council today (Tuesday 3rd September).

In partnership with The Dreamland Trust, the council will now progress with plans to create a world class visitor attraction for Margate – an amusement park of thrilling historic rides.

Surveyors will be the first on-site to assess the condition of the land, which has stood empty for more than five years. Further work will also be undertaken to protect the three important heritage assets on the site, the Grade ll* listed Scenic Railway, the Grade ll* listed cinema building and the Grade ll Menagerie Cages.

During this time, The Dreamland Trust and renowned HemingwayDesign team, will continue to lead on developing a brand and will progress with the creative design of the park.

Although this is a key milestone for the project, the compulsory purchase of the site is still subject to legal challenge by the former site owners, which is due to be heard at the Appeals Court on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 September.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Clive Hart, said: “The transfer of Dreamland to the council is another significant step towards creating a world class visitor attraction on this site. With overwhelming public support and the vital funds in place, we have been resolute in our commitment to deliver this landmark project and believe that the compulsory purchase of the land was the only viable option to save and restore the site.

“The continued legal challenge is nothing short of frustrating. The council has carried out significant urgent repairs to the important heritage assets and has been saddened to see the site stand vacant and unused for such a long period of time.

“With support from the Secretary of State, and the High Court, we are hopeful that the right outcome will be determined at the appeal, and will continue to do all we can to unlock the regeneration of this part of Margate.”

The Dreamland Trust Chairman, Nick Laister, said: "The transfer of the site to our partner Thanet District Council is one of the biggest milestones in our efforts to return Dreamland to its rightful place as Margate's biggest visitor attraction and to the people and community of Margate.

"The Dreamland Trust and TDC have worked very hard to secure this transfer in the best interests of Thanet, as having a large, derelict wasteland in the middle of the seafront has been so detrimental to the image of Margate. The transformation of the town has already started following the opening of Turner Contemporary in 2011, and the reopening of Dreamland as the world's first amusement park of thrilling historic rides in 2015 will be the another big step forward for the resort.

"We hope to be able to cross the final hurdle at the Court of Appeal later this month. We have the right team in place to deliver this project and, with the necessary funding now available to us, we are confident that the people and businesses of Thanet will not have to wait too long now to see visible progress on site."

The news has been covered by BBC Online, Kent News, Kent Online and Isle of Thanet Gazette. Blogs, social media and discussions at Thanet Lab blog, a blog from Cllr Iris Johnston, Thanet Life, the Save Dreamland Forum, The Dreamland Trust News Page, Dreamland Margate Facebook page and Save Dreamland Campaign Facebook page.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Council makes vesting order
Cabinet members agreed last night (Thursday 1 August) to authorise the making of a General Vesting Declaration (GVD) which will result in the transfer of the Dreamland site to Thanet District Council.

The GVD is the document that will enable the council to take final ownership of the area subject to the Compulsory Purchase Order.

The council has received legal advice to continue with the vesting process and not to delay this in light of the forthcoming Court of Appeal hearing.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Clive Hart, said: “We have all shared the aspiration of seeing Dreamland return as part of Margate’s heritage and have all believed in its contribution to the wider regeneration of the district.

“The journey has been long and difficult at times and even now is not over with the current Court of Appeal Hearing due to be heard at the end of September. Last night’s decision however is a significant step towards the council’s goal to acquire the site and to the overall delivery of the project to create a world class visitor destination in Margate. 

The GVD has been prepared and sealed this afternoon (Friday 2 August). There is a requirement to notify the owners of the site that the GVD has been made, which will then trigger the start of a 28-day period, after which ownership of the site will vest in the Council.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Dreamland compulsory purchase can proceed
Plans to open Dreamland Margate as a major seaside attraction are back on track for The Dreamland Trust and Thanet District Council following a High Court ruling today.

Judge Sycamore comprehensively dismissed a legal challenge over the decision to grant the council ownership of the site.

The council originally received approval from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for the compulsory purchase of the site in August 2012. Current owners, Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, then launched an appeal which challenged this decision.


Above: Work to start shortly at Dreamland Margate

Following the successful High Court ruling, the council will now work to secure title to the land, which it must acquire before access to the site can be granted and work can proceed.

Once title is secured, a funding package will open up to help deliver the project.

Chairman of The Dreamland Trust, Nick Laister, said: “The Dreamland Trust was confident that the Secretary of State had made the right decision for the future of the Dreamland Margate site and we are delighted that this decision has been found to be a sound one. The residents and businesses of Thanet have waited too long to see this important tourism site come back to life, and this decision means that we should be able to finally make a start. We look forward to working with our partners Thanet District Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund in implementing the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides.”

The Dreamland Trust and Thanet District Council are working in partnership to regenerate the site to create the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides, classic side shows, vintage cafés, restaurants and gardens.

The project will also celebrate the British seaside and popular culture. It is a major part of Margate’s regeneration programme, creating volunteer, learning, training and employment opportunities for the local community.

Thanet District Council Chief Executive, Sue McGonigal, said: “Today’s ruling from the High Court comes as very welcome news. We now have a clear mandate to progress with our plans to deliver a brand new and unique visitor attraction for the South East. With overwhelming public support, and the vital funds in place, there has been no doubt about our commitment to see this project through. Getting to this point has certainly been frustrating, especially with the site left vacant and unused for a significant amount of time. Our focus now will be to progress with plans to dramatically regenerate Dreamland and I look forward to seeing the potential benefits this will bring to Margate.”

The news has been covered in the media here: Kent News, Isle of Thanet Gazette, This is Kent, Planning Magazine and BBC News. Nick Laister of The Dreamland Trust and Sue McGonigal of Thanet District Council both appeared on BBC South East Today television news on the evening of the decision. Nick also appeared on KMFM and appeared as a guest on the John Warnett Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Kent.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Dreamland public event a success
The Dreamland Trust held an event at the Turner Contemporary on the evening of 17 April 2013 to update the community on progress with the Dreamland Project and to provide opportunities for people to put forward their ideas and offers of help. All seats were booked and the event was standing room only.

The evening started at 6pm with a brief welcoming address by Victoria Pomerey, the Director of Turner Contemporary. Then Nick Laister, chair of The Dreamland Trust, provided an update on the project and introduced the team. Designer Wayne Hemingway then presented his initial proposals and ideas, before Audience Development Officer Jan Leandro opened the floor for comments, suggestions and offers of help. The formal proceedings were followed by an opportunity for visitors to meet the team, including Project Director Mike Nuttall and Thanet District Council representative Grant Burton.
 


Wayne Hemingway
The event has been covered by BBC News and the Isle of Thanet Gazette. More about Wayne Hemingway's work on Dreamland can be found on their website here. The Isle of Thanet Gazette also interviewed Wayne.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Judgement has been reserved following the two day High Court hearing into the Secretary of State's decision to allow a Compulsory Purchase Order by Thanet District Council to proceed. DreamlandLive, formally Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, appealed against the Government's decision, arguing it was flawed. The development of the park as the world's first amusement park of thrilling historic rides cannot proceed until the case is resolved.

The news has been well covered by the media, including BBC News and ITV News.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The March 2013 issue of the Dreamland Trust Newsletter is now available to download. This provides an update on work on the Dreamland Margate project by The Dreamland Trust. This has already been sent by email to all those who have signed up for the Campaign. If you would like to get a copy of the newsletter before it appears on this website, please join our mailing list.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Dreamland was front page news in the Isle of Thanet Gazette on Friday as we approach the court hearing on the Compulsory Purchase Order.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

A number of updates.

The January 2013 issue of the Dreamland Trust Newsletter is now available to download. This provides an update on work on the Dreamland Margate project by The Dreamland Trust. Click here...

Dreamland features in the new BBC History Magazine. Here is a scan of the small item, with thanks to Richard Holme for bringing it to our attention.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Guardian features a special Christmas Day article on Dreamland. Click here to view...

Monday, 24 December 2012

DREAMLAND APPEAL - COURT DATE SET
On Thursday 20 December Thanet District Council was successful in its application to have the Dreamland Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) appeal prioritised. A two day hearing will now take place on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 March 2013.

If the appeal by the landowners is unsuccessful, Thanet District Council will immediately begin the process of acquiring ownership of the site.

The council received approval from the Secretary of State for the Compulsory Purchase of the site in August 2012, following a public inquiry. The landowners then challenged the decision by the Secretary of State.

Thanet District Council is working in partnership with the Dreamland Trust to create a world first for the site, an amusement park of thrilling historic rides, with classic sideshows, vintage cafes, restaurants, and gardens with special events and festivals. 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Newsletters available for download
The November and December 2012 issues of the Dreamland Trust Newsletter are now available to download. These provide updates on work on the Dreamland Margate project by The Dreamland Trust. These have already been sent by email to all those who have signed up for the Campaign. If you would like to get a copy of the newsletter before it appears on this website, please join our mailing list.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

News roundup
MTCRC has appealed against the decision of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government's decision to allow Thanet District Council to compulsory purchase the Dreamland site. The Secretary of State's decision followed a public inquiry in early 2012 in which evidence from the owners of Dreamland and the Council was heard by an independent inspector. This legal challenge will be heard in the High Court. This news is covered by The Isle of Thanet Gazette. The newspaper had previously reported an offer from MTCRC's Toby Hunter to hand over part of Dreamland for £1.

The Isle of Thanet Gazette has reported that top designer Wayne Hemingway is in talks with The Dreamland Trust to provide expertise for the design of Dreamland. They also reported the results of a survey that show massive support for The Dreamland Trust's proposals for Dreamland.

Dreamland's Scenic Railway featured heavily in the national news a couple of weeks ago when English Heritage included the ride in its list of buildings at risk. This news was covered by BBC News England, BBC News World, ITV News, The Telegraph and The Guardian.

The October 2012 issue of the Dreamland Trust Newsletter is now available to download. This provides an update on work on the Dreamland Margate project by The Dreamland Trust. This has already been sent by email to all those who have signed up for the Campaign. If you would like to get a copy of the newsletter before it appears on this website, please join our mailing list.

Saturday, 30 September 2012

The Isle of Thanet Gazette has featured a number of news stories about the CPO over recent days. The first is here. the second shows the results of a poll, which shows that 86% of readers want the Council to complete its takeover of Dreamland.

Monday, 3 September 2012

September 2012 newsletter available for download
The September 2012 issue of the Dreamland Trust Newsletter is now available to download. This provides an update on work on the Dreamland Margate project by The Dreamland Trust. This has already been sent by email to all those who have signed up for the Campaign. If you would like to get a copy of the newsletter before it appears on this website, please join our mailing list.

The website This is Kent also featured a Dreamland story about the possible early opening of parts of the park for events next year.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Dreamland Compulsory Purchase Order Approved!
Following a public inquiry, Thanet District Council has today received approval from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for the compulsory purchase of the Dreamland site.

Chair of The Dreamland Trust, Nick Laister, said: “The Dreamland Trust is delighted that the Secretary of State has backed our plans to reopen Dreamland as a major seaside visitor attraction of regional and national significance. Along with our partners, Thanet District Council, we were confident that our plans would be found to be robust, deliverable and in the public interest. The Trust was very pleased to support the council in its efforts to secure the site to enable us to implement our vision, which has been shown time and time again to be the development that the people of Thanet most want to see happen.

“The residents and businesses of Thanet, and its many existing and future visitors, have waited far too long for work on this project to start. With our funding in place and our plans drawn up, today’s news is hopefully the final major hurdle that we will have to cross.

“The Dreamland Trust is ready to make a start on site and we hope to have Stage One of the project fully open by Easter 2014.”

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Clive Hart, said: “I’m thrilled with today’s announcement. This is a key step to unlocking the regeneration of the Dreamland site and means we can start to move in the right direction, in partnership with The Dreamland Trust, to progress the future of the site which has been vacant for a significant amount of time.

“Dreamland is such an important asset for Thanet, and for thousands outside of the area, so we’ve always been clear that doing nothing is simply not acceptable.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination to get to this point, with the council spending more than £1 million on carrying out urgent repairs to the neglected heritage assets.

“I’m thrilled that the Secretary of State is confident in our plans to help secure the regeneration of Dreamland, and today’s announcement moves us closer to delivering this greatly anticipated amusement park.”

The council will now work to secure title to the land, which it must acquire before access to the site can be granted and work can proceed. Securing title to the land will open up a funding package of over £10 million to deliver the project. Once the land is vested to the authority, the council will gain access to the site to allow important structural surveys to begin ahead of construction.

The council is working in partnership with The Dreamland Trust to create a world first for the site, an amusement park of thrilling historic rides, with classic side shows, cafés, restaurants, special events, festivals and gardens.

The project will also celebrate the British seaside and popular culture, with a focus on youth cultural heritage. It is a major part of Margate’s regeneration programme, creating volunteer, learning, training and employment opportunities for the local community. The project is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, the Department for Culture Media and Sport and Thanet District Council.

The news has also been covered by BBC News, BBC TV News, ITV News, The Independent, The Guardian, Daily Express, Attractions Management, Isle of Thanet Gazette and Kent Online. It is also being discussed on a number of forums, including the Save Dreamland Forum, All the Fun of the Fair, UK Rides and the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Dreamland Miniature Railway pack for Microsoft Train Simulator

Users of the Microsoft Train Simulator software will be delighted to know that the Dreamland Miniature Railway Route is now available for download from Bubble's Railways.

The Dreamland Miniature Railway Pack depicts the real 15" gauge railway which was an important attraction at the Dreamland Amusement Park in Margate from 1920 until the line's closure in 1980. This pack depicts the route during the late 1950s era and includes rolling stock from throughout the line's history. This route offers a taste of amusement park life - can you operate a consistent and timely service and keep the visitors happy?
 

£2 from each pack is being donated to the Dreamland Project which is the group aiming to restore the Dreamland site as Heritage Amusement Park. Details here.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

BBC Radio Kent/Dreamland Live
As the decision on the Compulsory Purchase Order is awaited a brief update of other news.

The Dreamland Trust's audience development officer, Jan Leandro, was a guest on BBC Radio Kent's Sunday Supplement on 29 July, with Paul Harris and Paul James. Jan discussed the current status of the project, the recent activities of the Trust and talked about the history of the Dreamland site. You can listen to the programme for seven days at this link (fast forward by 2 hours 18 minutes for Dreamland).

ITV's Meridian News interviewed Peter Beck of MTCRC (the current owner of Dreamland), who discussed their proposals for the site. Mr Beck explained that the MTCRC proposals - now rebranded 'Dreamland Live' - involve a residential-led development which would require use of all of the grant funding currently held by Thanet District Council and The Dreamland Trust. Click here to view.
 


Jan Leandro
For those who cannot wait for Dreamland to reopen, here is on-ride footage of the Scenic Railway on YouTube, filmed on the day of the Save Dreamland Convention in 2003, courtesy of Campaign member David Ellis.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

July 2012 newsletter available for download
The July 2012 issue of the Dreamland Trust Newsletter is now available to download. This provides an update on work on the Dreamland Margate project by the Dreamland Trust. This has already been sent by email to all those who have signed up for the Campaign. If you would like to get a copy of the newsletter before it appears on this website, please join our mailing list.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Two well-known amusement park figures die
Two of the most well-known figures in the seaside amusement park industry died last night. The former owner of Dreamland Margate, Jimmy Godden, died last night following a long battle with cancer. In addition to Dreamland, he also previously owned Dymchurch's MW's Amusement Park, Folkestone's Rotunda Amusement Park and Ramsgate's Pleasurama Amusement Park. He became a controversial figure after closing three of the parks for redevelopment; only MW's continues to operate, under new ownership.

Another major figure in the amusement park world, Jimmy Jones MBE, owner and former managing director of Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, also died last night aged 73. He was chairman of the Pleasure Beach until his death and was previously its managing director from 1975 to 1992, after which he handed over to his son Albert who remains managing director to the present day. Jimmy Jones expanded the Pleasure Beach significantly during his time at the helm. Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach is home to the UK's only operating Scenic Railway.


Above: Amusement park legend Jimmy Jones

Tuesday, 29 February 2012

Dreamland public inquiry to conclude next week
The public inquiry into Thanet District Council's decision to compulsory purchase the Dreamland site enters its final week next week. The inquiry reopens on Tuesday 6th March 2012 at 10am with the two final witnesses.

Thanet District Council planning officer Ashley Hills will be giving evidence on Tuesday. Once her evidence finishes, the final witness, Dreamland Trust chair Nick Laister, will give his evidence to the inquiry. The current expectation is that Ashley Hills will take up most of Tuesday, with Nick Laister starting later on Tuesday and continuing through most of Wednesday.

On Thursday there will be a site visit and then each side will give its final statements to the Inspector before the inquiry closes. The inquiry is expected to close on Friday 9th March 2012 after four weeks of evidence.

The inquiry, which is being held at the offices of Thanet District Council in Margate, is open to the public all week, with visitors able to watch from the viewing gallery in the main council chamber.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Dreamland featured in Sky Arts documentary
Sky Arts visited the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate for the opening of its 2012 exhibition Turner and the Elements. The documentary, broadcast last night, also explores the positive impact the gallery has had on the town, and features Dreamland extensively. It includes an excellent interview with the Dreamland Trust's Audience Development Officer Jan Leandro. Click here to view...

Dreamland inquiry's third week ends
The Dreamland public inquiry adjourned on Friday afternoon after a third week of evidence. The inquiry has now moved on to the Council's case, and four of the Council's witnesses were cross-examined by the barristers representing site owners MTCRC and their bank, Close Brothers. The witnesses who gave evidence were Jonathan Bryant (former Dreamland Trust project director), Nick Dermott (Thanet District Council's heritage adviser), Simon Davis (regeneration consultant) and Ian Peck (a valuer from property consultants Bidwells).

The inquiry reopens again on 6 March when the Council's main witness, Ashley Hills, gives evidence, followed by the final witness, Dreamland Trust chair Nick Laister, who will give evidence on 6 and 7 March. The inquiry will then finish with a site visit and closing submissions from both sides.

Full details of the inquiry, along with summaries of each day's proceedings, can be found on the Dreamland Public Inquiry pages on the Thanet District Council website.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January 2012 newsletter available for download
The January 2012 issue of the Dreamland Trust Newsletter is now available to download. This provides an update on work on the Dreamland Margate project by the Dreamland Trust. This has already been sent by email to all those who have signed up for the Campaign. If you would like to get a copy of the newsletter before it appears on this website, please join our mailing list.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Dreamland Public Inquiry completes first week
The first week of the Public Inquiry into Thanet District Council’s bid to compulsorily purchase the Dreamland site is now over, with the Council having cross-examined a number of the landowner's witnesses. A summary of each day's proceedings can be viewed here. The Inquiry continues from Tuesday next week, and it is expected that the Council's first witnesses will give evidence before the end of the week, with the first Council witness being Nick Laister, Chairman of The Dreamland Trust. Thanet District Council has set up a special Dreamland web page with detailed information on the inquiry and including statements from Council witnesses.

The Inquiry has been covered extensively in the local media: Your Thanet, Isle of Thanet Gazette, Thanet Extra on Friday 6th, Monday 9th and Friday 13th January, Kent on Sunday, BBC News, Kent News, This is Kent, Attractions Management. It has also been covered on CoasterBuzz, Ozseeker, Thanet Press Blog and  William Scobie's Blog.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Dreamland Public Inquiry to start
The Public Inquiry into Thanet District Council’s bid to compulsorily purchase the Dreamland site starts on Tuesday 10 January and will see the Council and The Dreamland Trust set out their case as to why they believe a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) is the only way forward for this key site for Margate’s regeneration. The council originally served the CPO notice in June 2010.

The council is working in partnership with the Dreamland Trust to create a world first for the site, an amusement park of thrilling historic rides, with classic side shows, cafés, restaurants, special events, festivals and gardens. The project will also celebrate the British seaside and popular culture, with a focus on youth cultural heritage. It is a major part of Margate’s regeneration programme, creating volunteer, learning, training and employment opportunities.

The first stage of the project will see:
  • the restoration of the Grade II* listed Scenic Railway, the historic rides collection and the Grade II listed menagerie cages, along with repairs to the Grade II* listed Dreamland Cinema building,
  • the reopening of the main park entrance,
  • the introduction of a dedicated learning centre, exhibition area and community space,
  • the refurbishment of the existing car park and new events space, which will also double as an overflow car park.

This is now fully funded, with £3.7 million from the Sea Change fund, £3 million from the council and £3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The HLF grant will be available to fund project costs, once the council has demonstrated full control over the Dreamland site to the HLF’s satisfaction. Despite lengthy negotiations with the land owners, there was no progress in transferring the amusement park site to the council, leaving no option but to take CPO action.

Chair of The Dreamland Trust, Nick Laister, said: "The Dreamland Trust fully supports the action being taken by Thanet District Council to secure the regeneration of the Dreamland site. Given the lack of progress by the landowners, who have owned the site since 2005, it is essential that the CPO succeeds; otherwise this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reopen the park and repair these important listed buildings will be lost. We believe that our joint proposals for the site are deliverable, viable and will create a unique visitor attraction for Margate.

"There are no other proposals on the table that will retain the site as a tourist attraction, as required by the Local Plan, and which are deliverable and sustainable. Our proposals will keep the entire site in amusement park use and return Dreamland to the status that it enjoyed until very recently, at the heart of Margate's visitor appeal. I will be personally attending the public inquiry and giving evidence in support of the CPO on behalf of The Dreamland Trust."

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Clive Hart, said: “Doing nothing on the Dreamland site is not acceptable. It’s already remained vacant and virtually unused for more than five years now and I understand the previous council administration has spent the last couple of years looking at various proposals from the landowners, trying to reach an amicable solution with them. It’s our view that the landowners’ proposals won’t achieve the regeneration of Dreamland.

“Having already spent a considerable amount of time and money trying to come to an agreement with the landowners, the council is left with compulsory purchase of the site as the only way forward. Dreamland is a precious asset, not just for people in Thanet, but the whole country and we cannot afford to lose it. The council and the Dreamland Trust have the desire, ambition and resources to get the first phase of work done on the site. This will then encourage further investment for future phases.”

The council’s contractors Coombs (Canterbury) Ltd. started work on the Dreamland Cinema building in May 2011, after the council served a series of Urgent Works Notices on the owners of the building. So far, structural repairs have been carried out to the steel frame and concrete and to the doors and windows, along with re-pointing. Some of the roof structure has also been replaced, due to its poor condition. The work is expected to be completed by the spring.

The Public Inquiry is expected to last for approximately two weeks, although as it will not sit every day, it may last until the end of January. The Inquiry is being held in the Council Chamber in Cecil Street, Margate and is open to the public. More details of the Inquiry can be found on the Council's website.

Once the Inquiry concludes, a report from the Planning Inspector is expected in late February or early March. This will then be submitted to the Secretary of State, who will make a decision on the case. This may not be known until May or June.

Councillor starts petition

Dane Valley ward councillor William Scobie has started a petition to present to the Inspector at the Inquiry. Up until the 10th January he will be running this petition to make it absolutely clear that people want Dreamland back up and running. If anyone is interested in getting involved in the petition please contact William on 07792416865 or email him. He is posting regular updates on how the petition is going on his blog.

On his blog, William says: "I am not going to suggest that this campaign is necessarily going to change the decision as they will be looking at the planning side of it, however we need to make sure that the Planning Inspector is in no doubt as to what the people of Margate and Thanet want for the Dreamland Site."

You can also help William by printing the petition and getting signatures yourself. It can be downloaded here.

CPO in the news

The Dreamland CPO Inquiry features extensively in the local press, including Your Thanet, Isle of Thanet Gazette and Kent Online,

News Archives
July-December 2011
January-June 2011
August-December 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009 - new staff join Trust
November 2009 - Sea Change funding secured
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009 - Heritage Lottery funding secured
June 2009 - Junior Whip acquired and Urban Panel report
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009 - heritage amusement park plans launched
January/February 2009
November/December 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008 - Scenic Railway Fire
January/February 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
August - September 2007
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February 2007
January 2007
October 2006
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January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
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June 2005
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December 2004 - February 2005
October 2004
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July 2004
June 2004 - public inquiry
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
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February 2003
January 2003

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