News: October 2003
In January 2003 the owner of Dreamland, Jimmy Godden, announced the closure of Dreamland. The park is to be redeveloped as "leisure boxes, some retail and a supermarket". Joyland Books will provide updates on the campaign to save Dreamland and its internationally-important Scenic Railway ride.
Friday, 31 October 2003
Save Dreamland Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, is interviewed live on the Barbara Sturgeon Show on BBC Radio Kent. The interview was to mark Dreamland's 'final day'. With some rides already being dismantled, Laister explained that Dreamland is "closing for the season, not closing down", and that the Campaign is hopeful that the park will reopen again next year, operated as this year by a showman as an interim measure whilst the fate of the site is decided.
Sturgeon asked Laister how the campaign is going. Nick explained that the campaign had won a lot of support within the council and that the campaign's message is now getting through. He also said he was pleased that the council had given a firm "no" to Stadium Developments' plans for retail development on the site, through the review of the Local Plan.
Laister also reaffirmed that the Campaign is still working closely with one of Europe's biggest theme park operators which maintains its interest in acquiring and/or operating the site, describing their plans for Dreamland as "exciting".
Local Campaign Coordinator, Sarah Vickery, was also interviewed by BBC Television South East News on Friday. Broadcast on their evening news bulletin, the BBC also interviewed former Dreamland Park Manager, David Bill, and local councillor and ex-Dreamland employee, Mick Tomlinson. Sarah recounted her Dreamland memories and talked about how magical the place was as a child. When asked what Margate will be like without Dreamland she replied, "Where's the magic?"
The BBC are now asking for your own Dreamland memories. Post them here.
Tuesday, 28 October 2003
Tuesday, 7 October 2003
Sarah Vickery was interviewed live on the BBC Radio Kent Breakfast Show this morning about Dreamland's 2002 visitor figures. The DJ, Andy Garland, suggested that they provided the Campaign with an armoury against comments such as those the Isle of Thanet Gazette, which described Save Dreamland Campaign members as a "rather pathetic group of mourners".
The Thanet Times also carries a story about Dreamland's 2002 visitor numbers.
Monday, 6 October 2003
Campaign Leader Nick Laister is interviewed by KMFM about the newly released visitor numbers for Dreamland.
Sunday, 5 October 2003
Kent on Sunday carried a story about Dreamland's 2002 visitor numbers, featuring quotes from Save Dreamland Campaign Leader Nick Laister.
Saturday, 4 October 2003
As more people
begin to realise that Dreamland cannot be allowed to be redeveloped, yet another
person speaks out. Yesterday's Isle of Thanet Gazette carried the
following news item under the headline 'Dreamland boss tells of need for
Wednesday, 1 October 2003
Official visitor numbers have been released for Dreamland showing that last year it was one of Britain's Top Ten amusement parks. The report 'Visits to Visitor Attractions 2002', recently released by Visit Britain (the new name for the British Tourism Authority), shows that Dreamland attracted 680,000 visitors in 2002. In 2001 it attracted 700,000 visitors and in 2000 it attracted 650,000 visitors. Dreamland is now ranked as the fifth most-visited free entry amusement park in the United Kingdom.
Save Dreamland Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, said: "This further emphasises the need to retain this hugely important tourist attraction. Could Margate's tourist industry really survive the loss of an attraction which draws in almost 700,000 visitors every year, and could - in our view - draw in many more visitors under a committed ownership? I receive emails almost every day from families - many from the London area - who say that they will no longer visit Margate if Dreamland closes. They all say that they will have to start visiting rival resorts such as Brighton and Southend-on-Sea to find the sort of facilities that Margate currently offers. None of the proposals that have so far been put forward by those trying to secure higher land values for the site would attract anything like the visitors that Dreamland attracts to the town."
Laister adds: "I have also been told by the person who has operated the Scenic Railway this year, Dave Collard, that the year has been a great success. Over 40,000 rides were taken on the Scenic Railway, and the ride has more than paid for itself. That is despite it not being part of the wristband system, and with the park having been run-down over the past few years.
"This changes the whole campaign. We now know that we have a viable listed building in a viable park. Whereas before we could only speculate, now we know for certain. Planning policy is 100% clear about this - with proof that the Scenic Railway is viable and with interest from operators in taking on the ride and the park in which it stands, the Scenic Railway must remain in its existing location. The UK planning system should now be able to save Dreamland. There can be no justification for the Council to allow this famous tourist landmark to disappear."