PRESS RELEASE: 16 January 2006
Council votes on Future of Dreamland
Councillors at Thanet District Council are being asked to reject the Local Plan Inquiry Inspector's recommendations on Dreamland, which stated that the amusement park must be retained.
The Save Dreamland Campaign celebrated on 17 November 2005, when the independent government inspector decided that Dreamland must remain an amusement park and the Scenic Railway should be protected.
Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, explains:
"Unfortunately, as I pointed out at the time, the Inspector’s Report is not binding on the Council. The Council can decide to reject the Inspector’s recommendations if it wishes. Clearly, we all hoped that the Council would accept the recommendations, especially after so many people objected to the Council’s last-minute change to the Local Plan."
Councillors will be discussing the Inspector’s recommendations on Dreamland at an Extraordinary Council Meeting at 7.30pm on Thursday 19 January. They will then take a vote on whether to accept or reject the Inspector’s recommendations.
The Planning Policy Manager's report to this council meeting has now been published. In this report, the Planning Policy Manager has recommended that the council partially rejects the Inspector’s recommendations.
Nick Laister explains:
"The officer describes the Inspector as ‘naïve’ and he also states that he believes that Dreamland is no longer viable. He thinks that to protect Dreamland as an amusement park would be a missed opportunity. This is despite the Inspector’s strong words that, without a policy protecting it, Margate’s biggest tourist attraction will almost certainly be lost."
Nick Laister continues:
“We are asking the Council to carefully consider what the Inspector recommended. He had heard all the arguments and his conclusions were unequivocal. We are also asking them to consider the massive amount of consultation that has already been undertaken on this subject over the past two years and the response that the people of Thanet have made every time. The Council’s last-minute change to the Local Plan policy on Dreamland, following a private meeting with the owner, resulted in a large amount of objections. And 44% of all responses to the Margate Masterplan consultation were on the subject of Dreamland, with almost all of them strongly supporting the use of the site for a major amusement park (even though that wasn’t an option provided!). “
“We are asking the Council to listen to the residents and businesses of Margate.”
To organise interviews, please contact Nick Laister (Campaign Leader) on 01235 838214 (day), 07778 207036 (mobile) or 01235 762186 (evenings and weekends) or Sarah Vickery (Campaign Coordinator) on 01843 220008. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about the Save Dreamland Campaign visit the campaign’s website at www.savedreamland.co.uk/. Nick Laister’s Proof of Evidence to the Public Inquiry and the Inspector’s Report on Dreamland can both be downloaded from the website.
Information for Editors
The Save Dreamland Campaign was launched in 2003 to save the Dreamland Pleasure Park, Margate, home of the UK’s oldest roller coaster, the 85-year-old listed Scenic Railway. Dreamland’s owner proposes to replace the park with a shops and houses. 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 speaking on behalf of 13,000 people, including local residents, businesses and organisations such as the Margate Historical Society, Margate Civic Society, the Margate Hotel and Guest House Association, European Coaster Club, Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain and SAVE Britain’s Heritage.
The official campaign website is www.savedreamland.co.uk. The campaign can be emailed at email@example.com. The address for all correspondence is Save Dreamland Campaign, The Shell Grotto, Grotto Hill, Margate, Kent CT9 2BU.
The Public Inquiry into the Thanet Local Plan opened on 14 April 2004. Two Inspectors (Mr Harold Stephens and Mr Nicholas Hammans) were appointed to conduct the Inquiry. The future of Dreamland was considered on 29 June 2004 at the Council Offices, Margate.
Nick Laister BA (Hons) DipTP MRTPI MIHT MIPI gave evidence at the Inquiry on behalf of the Campaign. He is a leading authority on the amusement park industry and editor of the web site www.joylandbooks.com. He is a Chartered Town Planner and Technical Director with the RPS Group Plc, the UK’s largest planning consultancy, where he specialises in planning for tourism and leisure. He has been involved in bringing forward numerous major developments across the UK, and has appeared as expert witness at several public inquiries and hearings. He has written articles for a number of newspapers and journals and has been invited to speak at conferences on the subject of planning for tourism and leisure. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dreamland Pleasure Park is located at Belgrave Road, Margate. The telephone number is 01843 227011.
Nick Laister’s Proof of Evidence can be downloaded in full from www.savedreamland.co.uk.
The full Inspector’s Report can be downloaded from the Thanet District Council website: www.thanet.gov.uk.
Chapter, in which Dreamland is considered, can be downloaded from here:
(The Inspector’s conclusions are in paragraphs 59 to 107).