News: November 2005

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.

Click here for the latest news

Monday, 28 November 2005

Media coverage of the Inspector's Report on Dreamland continues, with a report in Leisure Opportunities. The news now appears across Leisure Media's magazines and websites, including and Attractions Management (where it is currently front page news).

Saturday, 26 November 2005

Ending a week of massive media interest in the Inspector's Report on Dreamland, yesterday's Thanet Gazette included a short article.

Thursday, 24 November 2005

The front pages of both the Adscene and the Extra covered last week's fantastic news.

Save Dreamland Campaign leader, Nick Laister, said:

"I am pleased that Mr Ezekiel has now openly acknowledged the reason for Dreamland's current state, a view that is entirely in line with the Inspector's conclusions. The site will be worth a lot less once the Council formally implements the Inspector's recommendations. At that point, the Council and others can start talking sensibly about the future of Dreamland. Over the past few days, I have sounded out a few people in the amusement park industry, and I am pleased to say there are some very good operators waiting in the wings, including the owners of the fantastic Adventure Island Theme Park at Southend, a park that is open all-year-round. If the current owners won't play ball, then I think Mr Ezekiel is correct to raise the issue of compulsory purchase, which would now be entirely justified on the basis of the independent Inspector's report.

"I do find Cllr Nicholson's comments somewhat hypocritical, though, considering that it was the Council under his leadership that made the very changes to the Local Plan that the Inspector's 'damning' report so strongly criticised.

"We now have a solid basis on which to move forward. I hope the Council will modify the policy quickly so that discussions on the future of the site can get back on course."


Wednesday, 23 November 2005

Yesterday's Thanet Times included an article on the Government inspector's support for Dreamland remaining an amusement park.

Sunday, 20 November 2005

Today's Kent on Sunday newspaper featured a half-page article about the Inspector's Report on Dreamland.

Friday, 18 November 2005

News of yesterday's Save Dreamland Campaign 'victory' has been well covered in the press. Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, was interviewed by BBC Radio Kent, KMFM, Thanet Extra, and others. An article has also appeared on the BBC News website.

The news item was also covered extensively by local television news, including BBC South East Today (you can download a 12MB Windows Media Player file of the item by clicking here). For those who cannot download the item, the BBC summarised the main points of the Inspector's Report and interviewed several people on Margate's seafront, all of whom desperately wanted to see Dreamland reopen. The reporter then made the following statement:

“But the Council doesn’t see it that way. They think a Fun Park isn’t viable". This was followed by a comment from Richard Samuel, Chief Executive of Thanet District Council, who said:

"Margate is a depressed town centre. It doesn't have much activity for the majority of the year and we would like to see something in Dreamland that actually brings in jobs and employment and wealth into the local economy because Margate badly needs that."

Save Dreamland Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, has made the following statement in response to Mr Samuel's comments:

“The implication of Mr Samuel's comments are that the 'something' he refers to is not an amusement park. If the BBC has not taken Mr Samuel's comments out of context, then the Save Dreamland Campaign is very disappointed with the statement. It appears from the report that less than 24 hours after the independent inspector reported, he is openly stating on television that the Council has other ideas for Dreamland. A lot of people are going to be very disappointed with Thanet District Council if what we all saw and heard on the BBC tonight is true. And to say that so soon after the report was published, especially after all the hard work that so many people put into the inquiry, would be nothing short of a disgrace. We await further comments from the Council with interest.”

Thursday, 17 November 2005

The Save Dreamland Campaign is today celebrating an important victory in the fight to retain Margate’s historic amusement park. An independent Government inspector has stated that Dreamland should remain an amusement park and the listed Scenic Railway roller coaster at its centre should be protected.

Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, said: “This is fantastic news, and shows that the position we took against the Council was a robust one. The Inspector has accepted every single one of the points we made at last year’s Public Inquiry and has rejected virtually every point made by the Council and the site’s owner. The Council had maintained that Dreamland was no longer viable and were happy to allow the site to be redeveloped for other uses. The Inspector found the evidence of the Save Dreamland Campaign to be compelling and has asked the Council to change the Local Plan to ensure the protection of the amusement park.”

Nick Laister: "We are absolutely delighted by this verdict".

“I am also delighted that the Inspector asked for the Scenic Railway to be retained. He described the Scenic Railway as an ‘extraordinary building’ and was satisfied that it would be viable, even as a stand-alone attraction. Importantly, however, he stated that the setting of the Scenic Railway must also be conserved. He said that this will prevent the site from being used for anything other than an amusement park. We are absolutely delighted about this verdict.”

Nick Laister, who gave evidence at the Inquiry on behalf of the Campaign, added: “We will be watching the Council very closely now, to ensure that it makes the appropriate modifications to its Local Plan.”

This recommendation is contained in the long-awaited Inspector’s Report on the Thanet Local Plan Public Inquiry. The Inquiry, held in June 2004, heard evidence from the Save Dreamland Campaign, which had objected to the Council’s U-turn on protecting Dreamland.
Until January 2003, Thanet District Council was committed to retaining Dreamland but, following representations made by the site’s owner in early 2003 (after the statutory deadline for representations to the Local Plan had expired), they changed the Local Plan Policy so that it would allow Dreamland to be completely redeveloped. The Save Dreamland Campaign vigorously objected to this U-turn.

For more details on the Inspector's Report (including a link to the Report itself) visit our special Local Plan Page. You can also discuss the News on our Save Dreamland Forum.

Saturday, 5 November 2005

Several campaign members have reported that demolition work is currently underway at Dreamland. A workshop building and office block are sealed off and demolition is currently being carried out.

Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, made the following statement today:

"A number of buildings on the Dreamland site, in addition to the Scenic Railway and Cinema, are listed. The disused arcade building at the back of the site [click here to see a photograph] and the nearby small former toilet building [click here for photograph] are "curtilage buildings", which pre-date 1948 and are therefore protected by the Scenic Railway listing. The same applies to the amusement arcade block to the north of the Scenic Railway. In addition, any building that is physically attached to the Scenic Railway or the Cinema building are also protected by the listing.

"Demolition of a listed building without listed building consent is a criminal offence that carries with it a prison sentence. I am satisfied that the buildings that are currently being demolished are not listed. However, members have noticed that the aforementioned disused park arcade building is also sealed off in a similar fashion to the buildings that are currently being demolished. Demolition of this building without listed building consent would be unauthorised.

"To put everybody's mind at rest, there does not appear to be any immediate cause for concern. However, if any demolition work starts on the disused arcade building, or any of the other buildings mentioned above, please contact the Listed Buildings/Conservation Department at Thanet District Council, who can take action. Should demolition start outside office hours, and you are concerned that it may be unauthorised, the police should be informed."

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Sources close to Thanet District Council have contacted the Save Dreamland Campaign with news that the long-awaited Inspectors' Report into the Thanet Local Plan Public Inquiry - at which the future of the Dreamland site was considered - states that the Dreamland site should remain in leisure use. Crucially, the Inspectors apparently recommend the retention of the Scenic Railway, stating that it is paramount that the setting of the Scenic is protected.

In response to this news, Campaign Coordinator, Sarah Vickery, said:

"This is great news. We will be watching the council very carefully over the coming weeks and months to ensure they take on board the Inspectors' recommendations and modify the Local Plan accordingly.

"However, at this stage, we should emphasise that this is only rumour. Our sources are reliable but we will have to wait for the report to be published in full."

Colin Fitt, Strategic Planning Manager for Thanet District Council, has informed the Campaign that TDC will be holding a press conference concerning the Local Plan on 17 November. The Inspectors' Report will be published on the TDC web site either on the afternoon of 17 November, or during the following day. Copies of the Report will also be available from local libraries and the council offices.

Tuesday, 1 November 2005

From today's Thanet Times:

Fun park plans under wraps

Plans for the future of Dreamland have been returned from a government inspection to Thanet council - but residents may have to wait until Christmas before they find out what they are.

The council has up to two months to publish the document, which contains information about the future of the theme park.

A draft local plan was sent for government inspection earlier this year - and part of it has already been approved.

For chapters of the plan, which proposed 1,000 homes opposite Westwood Cross, were published this year.

The second half of the document was returned to Thanet council after government inspection on Thursday.

The authority has eight weeks before it is obliged to publish its content.