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.
Click here for the latest news
Monday, 24 April 2006
An application for retrospective planning
permission for industrial-style fencing that was erected without
authorisation has been submitted to Thanet District Council by
the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company Limited, the owners of
Dreamland. As can be seen from the photograph to the right (click on the
photo for a larger version), the
fencing seriously harms the setting of the listed Scenic Railway.
Comments on the application can be
submitted online by
clicking here. At the same link you can view the planning
application form and other supporting information.
Friday, 21 April 2006
The following letter has been published in
today's Isle of Thanet Gazette. The letter, from Susan Marsh, is the Save
Dreamland Campaign's formal response to Waterbridge boss Toby Hunter's
very public accusation that the group is running a
campaign against him:
Preserving amusements is our aim
It was with some surprise that we discovered the Isle of Thanet
Gazette had chosen to publish correspondence between Nick
Laister and Toby Hunter (April 14th).
Perhaps we can address the
Waterbridge has yet to publish plans for the Dreamland site
so there has been no opportunity for the Campaign to either
support or reject. Members of the Campaign have met with
Waterbridge on every occasion they have been invited; and
continue to be available for consultation with the Company.
The Campaign has, however, engaged in considerable work in
the Local Plan process to ensure that the Dreamland site
remains an amusement park. This view was fully endorsed by
the independent Inspector. The Inspector further criticised
the way the Local Plan Policy had been changed, from one
that preserved Dreamland to one allowing development,
following an undocumented meeting with the then site owners,
after the consultation period had finished. This, together
with further matters emanating from Thanet Council, has been
the focus of our work. It has covered the period of the
current Council and its predecessors which clearly indicates
there has been no political allegiance.
The Campaign has very publicly supported the efforts for
this year and offered assistance in making the arrival of
the Big Wheel and the opening of Dreamland with rides a
success. It has also been made clear we will support the
retrospective planning application for the Big Wheel.
The Campaign objected to the demolition of a number of
listed buildings on site as we felt it premature. In order
for such buildings to be demolished there has to be very
clear plans as to the future development and the reasons
they need to go. Waterbridge failed to provide any evidence
other than to tidy things up. We would suggest it was the
firms failure to provide evidence to the local authority
that led to refusal, our role was purely to point out the
shortcomings in the application and where it failed to meet
the criteria in the legislation. Similarly this Campaign
has raised, with Thanet council, the issue of the unsightly
fence being put up very close to the Scenic Railway. In our
opinion this too breaches the legislation in respect of the
appropriate setting for a listed structure. There seems to
be a lack of understanding that the Scenic Railway at
Dreamland has national and international importance and as
such should be protected.
This Campaign has acted as a catalyst for interested parties
to meet Members and Officers of the Council and confirm that
there is an interest to buy and operate Dreamland, which
includes investment of considerable sums to develop it as an
up to date, exciting facility. The major stumbling block is
the ‘hope value’ placed on the site by the wording of the
Local Plan, the subject of our campaign so far, also
criticised by the independent Inspector in his report.
All consultation exercises so far have shown the vast
majority of the people of Thanet want Dreamland to remain an
To date the Save Dreamland Campaign has made no comment
about Mr Hunter or his company. As Mr Hunter has yet to
publish any details of his plans there is nothing to comment
about but he can be assured that whatever happens personal
abuse will not be the way we do business.
Readers will be free to draw
their own conclusions as to why the development company, via
their Chairman Mr Hunter, should decide to engage in such a
The Save Dreamland Campaign has
made clear its objectives are to work for the maintenance of the
Dreamland site as an Amusement Park and to preserve the Scenic
Railway, acknowledging its historic importance. Our Supporters
join us on that basis and have done so in their thousands.
Hon Secretary, The Save Dreamland Trust
News of the Big Wheel was included in
Adscene on 20/04/06. Today's Thanet Extra also features
news on the wheel.
Tuesday, 18 April 2006
Two small Dreamland-related items in today's
Monday, 17 April 2006
An interview with Campaign Leader, Nick Laister,
appears on the Coasterforce
website, one of the world's biggest online communities of roller coaster
Click here to view the interview.
Saturday, 15 April 2006
The new Isle of Thanet Gazette has
coverage of Dreamland and the Save Dreamland Campaign, focusing on the Big Wheel
being erected without planning consent and Toby Hunter's tirade against campaign
leader Nick Laister:
Big headache as wheel is
put up without consent
Dreamland bosses will have to
apply to Thanet council to keep the new big wheel in its
The 148ft attraction was put
up a fortnight ago, but bosses failed to get planning
permission for it as it is not within amusement park land.
Council officers are said to have inspected the attraction
A Thanet council spokesman
said: "The big wheel does not currently have planning
permission. The council is in contact with the site owners."
Workers fitted the ride for
Waterbridge, which is the parent company of Margate Town
Centre Regeneration Company. The wheel is on the former Mr
G's arcade site, and arrived on Tuesday, March 28, from a
Scottish theme park.
A Waterbridge spokesman said:
"We will be applying for permission retrospectively. We have
planning consultants for this matter."
A steel fence dividing the
park in two, which was assembled by site owners, was also
done so without planning permission. Margate Town Centre
Regeneration bosses applied last Friday for retrospective
planning permission for the fence.
This also appeared in today's Gazette:
Theme park boss says group's
campaign is getting personal
Theme park chief Toby Hunter has
blasted the Save Dreamland group for running a "campaign against
It is his second broadside
launched at the group in the past few months. In an exclusive
interview with the Isle of Thanet Gazette in February, Mr Hunter
lashed out at the group claiming it "has not invested a single
penny into Margate - but makes a lot of noise."
This time, Mr Hunter accuses the
group of launching a personal campaign in an extraordinary
exchange of e-mails with group leader Nick Laister. In an e-mail
exchange, Mr Hunter slammed the Save Dreamland Campaign for not
supporting the "undoubted efforts" his company is putting into
Dreamland's summer season, adding: "The substantial comments
from all in Margate that we have received following the erection
of the new wheel has truly been heartfelt. I wish your campaign
could join the celebration."
He goes on: "Margate is a
tremendous town - with a huge heart and great potential. Your
historical focus on previous owners now seems very outdated.
Please look to the future and recognise that MTCRC Ltd is here
to develop some world class facilities in leisure and supported
by mixed use (not financially supported but for the good of an
attractive urban regeneration). Your continued campaign against
me is starting to look vindictive and small minded."
Mr Laister replied, denying any
campaign against Mr Hunter, and said the group accepted limited
residential development at Dreamland to ensure its "long term
survival". He said Save Dreamland welcomed the big wheel and
would be writing in support of the retrospective planning
Mr Laister added: "I don't
understand your comment about a campaign against you."
He said later: "As far as you and
MTCRC go, we await your proposals with interest and nothing
would give us greater pleasure than supporting you. I wish you
every success for 2006, and if there is anything that the
campaign can do in terms of publicity, events or actual physical
help with preparing the site, please do not hesitate to ask.
There are some very enthusiastic people out there."
It was not the intention of the Campaign to
publish either Mr Hunter's email or Nick Laister's response, as this was
personal correspondence. However, as Mr Hunter has issued the exchange of
emails to the Gazette, we now publish both in full. This shows that the
Gazette somewhat misrepresented the Campaign's position on residential
Firstly, Toby Hunter's
email to Nick Laister sent at 10.32pm on 31 March 2006:
I read with interest your latest
letter setting out your position with regard to the site - I am
interested to note that you see residential as acceptable to
encourage regeneration in Margate.
What I am most disappointed about
is the lack of praise for the undoubted effort that my company
is trying to put into the Margate 2006 season. The substantial
comments from all in Margate, that we have received following
the erection of the new wheel has been truly heart felt. I wish
your campaign could join the celebration and congratulate MTCRC
Please clarify for me your
relationship with Phil Miller - does your planning consultancy
act for him - have you a conflict of interest? If not why are
you so afraid to embrace the activities of MTCRC Ltd?
Margate is a tremendous town -
with a huge heart and great potential. Your historical focus on
previous owners now seems very outdated. Please look to the
future and recognise that MTCRC Ltd is here to develop some
world class facilities in leisure and supported by mixed use
(not financially supported but for the good of an attractive
Your continued campaign against
me - is starting to look vindictive and small minded.
Here is Nick Laister's response, issued the
Thanks for your email.
Regarding my ‘support’ for
residential development, I state clearly in the letter that
those comments would not resolve our objection and were
given without prejudice to assist the council. However,
saying that, we have always accepted that limited
redevelopment of the site may be necessary to ensure the
long-term survival of Dreamland. Even the Inspector accepted
that point. Residential development is not an ideal
bedfellow with an amusement park.
Regarding the wheel, Sarah
and I put a news item together about it earlier today, which
will be going live for Saturday. It says the following:
"Margate seafront is
looking more spectacular than it has for many years, as the
construction of Dreamland's new Big Wheel nears completion.
The wheel is located on the site of the former Mr G's
amusement arcade, which was destroyed by fire in 2003, and
now dominates Margate's seafront.
The Wheel is owned by
Scottish fairground operators M&D's, owners of M&D's Theme
Park at Motherwell. The wheel is manufactured by top Italian
ride builder Fabbri.
Thanet District Council
has told the Campaign that an enforcement officer would be
visiting the site today as the ride requires planning
permission which Waterbridge has not applied for.
Save Dreamland Campaign
Leader Nick Laister described the Big Wheel as "inspired",
while Campaign Coordinator Sarah Vickery said, "It would be
great if a Big Wheel could be a permanent fixture on that
site, rather than a temporary one"."
I also put some positive
comments on the forum a few hours ago, and Sarah Vickery
also posted positive comments early this morning. There
is no question that we welcome the wheel, it is exactly
the sort of thing we would like to see on the site. If
the Council does require a retrospective planning
application, we will be writing in support.
Philip Miller is a
friend, not a client. And we are certainly not afraid to
embrace the activities of MTCRC. We like the wheel a
lot, we didn’t like the fences at all. We thought the
proposal to demolish curtilage listed buildings on the
site was premature. Other than that, we have no
information on your plans, so we have no comment to
make. As I said at our meeting last year, though, once
we see your plans for the site – and assuming we like
them – we will be the first group of people celebrating
Finally, I don’t
understand your comment about a campaign against you. I
don’t recall campaigning against you or your company. I
can’t deny that we were not exactly enamoured with your
letter to the Gazette, but other than that, our campaign
has been very firmly focussed against Thanet District
Council, which has not provided particularly good
service to the people of the town in either its Labour
or Conservative guises. As far as you and MTCRC go, we
await your proposals with interest and nothing would
give us greater pleasure than supporting you.
I wish you every success
for 2006, and if there is anything that the Campaign can
do in terms of publicity, events or actual physical help
with preparing the site, please do not hesitate to ask.
There are some very enthusiastic people out there!
Thursday, 13 April 2006
Tomorrow's Thanet Extra newspaper
reported the proposed Dreamland disco.
for more details on the disco.
Tuesday, 11 April 2006
The article below appeared in the
newspaper. A similar article also appeared in the Isle of Thanet Gazette.
Fun park group hits the
More than 350 objections have
been handed in to Thanet council by Save Dreamland campaigners
as part of a protest against plans for homes being considered at
the Margate fun park site. The pressure group put forward views
collected from members and the public on Friday, March 31, the
deadline for views on the local plan, the blueprint for
development in Thanet for the next ten years.
Thanet council wants to allow
consideration for homes and other uses for the theme park plot
against the recommendation of the government inspector who
chaired the public inquiry into the local plan last summer. The
inspector agreed with campaigners the council should only allow
a funfair on the site. Save Dreamland took to the streets to
canvas people's views.
Campaigner Sarah Vickery said:
"The council has not been taking the public seriously. We feared
consultation fatigue had set in and we wanted to engage people."
For details, go to
Sunday, 9 April 2006
A letter appeared in Friday's
Isle of Thanet
Gazette making reference to the campaigners out on the streets of Ramsgate.
Friday, 7 April 2006
|On Saturday 29th April, the Campaign
trail hits Chatham with a fundraising disco at the RAFA Club,
Dock Road, Chatham. Medway DJ Hairy Vince (right) will be playing hits
from the last 50 years, alongside a top raffle and free buffet. There
will be a £2.50 donation for entry, with all money raised going to the
Save Dreamland Trust. The event starts at 7pm.
Local Gillingham-based campaign member and event organiser, Dave Dunmall
said: “The retention of Dreamland is an issue that effects everyone
living in Kent. A very large number of Medway residents have travelled
to the area for many years and want to see what could arguably be the
county's main tourist attraction sympathetically restored to its former
glory for future generations to enjoy as they have. The campaign wishes
to raise awareness locally that Dreamland is still open and that there
is a professional campaign dedicated to its preservation."
|Campaign Co-ordinator Sarah
Vickery added: “We regularly stage Campaign events to give members a
chance to meet up and to ensure that the future of Dreamland remains a
high-profile issue in East Kent and beyond. We thought it was about time
we travelled to the Medway; so many people there have fond memories of
the park and want to get involved with preserving its future. Also, it’s
a good excuse for a party!”
Thanet District Council has informed the Save Dreamland Campaign that they
received an e-mail today from the agents acting for the operators at Dreamland
advising that a planning application for the unauthorised industrial fencing
that has been erected adjacent to the Scenic Railway is on its way to the
Council. Look out for the application being registered at
A couple of Dreamland-related items are in today's Thanet
Extra newspaper, reporting on campaigners taking to the streets of Margate
and Ramsgate and the return of a Big Wheel to Margate.
Thanet Times featured a short article about the
new Big Wheel.
Monday, 3 April
Has the Conservative Group, which controls Thanet District
Council, got a secret plan for Dreamland? One of our campaign members received
the following worrying letter from North Thanet MP Roger Gale, issued
before the end of the recent public consultation on Dreamland, which
seems to suggest that the site will be split into two by a road, with a housing
development in the rear part of the site:
Dear Mr Wilson,
Your constituency member of Parliament, my colleague Tony Baldy, has
copied to me your letter to him dated the 18th March and the additional
letter that you sent to the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron,
on the 25th February.
First may I say that I greatly appreciate the concerns that have been
expressed about the future of the Dreamland site and that I fully appreciate
(as the member of Parliament for North Thanet for the past twenty three
years) the deep affection that those who have enjoyed the Dreamland
facilities have for an amusement park.
I also greatly appreciate the efforts of those who have fought long and
hard to endeavour to preserve the Scenic Railway.
That said I am afraid that we are faced with a very difficult situation:
You will appreciate, I am sure, that the Dreamland site is in private
ownership. While the local authority has powers to control, to some extent
the development and use of the site it has no power to compel the present
owner to operate the whole or even part of the site as an amusement park.
That is a private business that has to stand and fall upon its commercial
success and unfortunately in recent years the income generated by the Park
has fallen significantly as has the visitor interest.
Much has been made in the Press of the site "being used for housing" but
that is actually to misrepresent the plans that the Council would like to
My Local Authority colleagues believe that there is a very strong
possibility of dividing the site, allowing housing development on the land
at the rear of the site, redirecting traffic through a new road through the
centre of the site and then facilitating the development of the front
(seafront) part of the site and a newly pedestrianised marine parade itself
for the development of the front of the park and other tourist and
In the belief that this project might release funds to generate not only
what has become a rather tired attraction but the resort facilities of the
whole of the town of Margate the Council has my support in its objectives.
I am very grateful to you for taking the trouble to write and for the
interest of yourself and your relatives in the future of the town.
With my best wishes
Campaign Coordinator, Sarah Vickery, made the following
"The council is currently consulting on the Local Plan policy for Dreamland
and has publicly stated that no decisions have yet been made. Roger Gale's
comments therefore conflict with those of the council and raise the question:
why should people get involved in the consultation if decisions have already
"His comments about the future viability and importance of the site are
incorrect. The site has been independently examined at a public inquiry and the
government inspector stated that the Council's approach was wrong and that
Dreamland should be protected as an amusement park.
"Gale's views also fly in the face of the results of the last three public
consultation exercises held by the Council. He and his conservative council
should really wait to see what the results of the public consultation are before
announcing plans. Unless, of course, the reason they embark on public
consultations is because they have to - not because they have any interest in
the opinions of their electorate."
Sunday, 2 April
The Save Dreamland Campaign was featured on BBC News, with an
article on the
BBC News website, the article featuring comments from Campaign
Coordinator Sarah Vickery. Campaign Leader Nick Laister was interviewed on BBC
Radio Kent about the public consultation and the Campaign's plans for the
Kent on Sunday features an article on Jimmy Godden's plans for the
Rotunda Amusement Park in Folkestone.
|Margate seafront is looking more
spectacular than it has for many years, as the construction of
Dreamland's new Big Wheel nears completion. The wheel is located
on the site of the former Mr G's amusement arcade, which was destroyed
by fire in 2003, and now dominates Margate's seafront.
The Wheel is owned by Scottish fairground operators
M&D's, owners of M&D's Theme Park at Motherwell. The wheel is
manufactured by top Italian ride builder Fabbri.
Thanet District Council has told the Campaign that an
enforcement officer would be visiting the site today as the ride
requires planning permission which Waterbridge has not applied for.
Click on the above image for larger version.
Save Dreamland Campaign Leader Nick Laister described the
Big Wheel as "inspired", while Campaign Coordinator Sarah Vickery
said, "It would be great if a Big Wheel could be
a permanent fixture on that site, rather than a temporary one".
Yesterday's Isle of Thanet Gazette featured an
article on Margate's new Wheel.