News: December 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.

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Friday, 23 December 2005

A letter from Thanet District Council's Chief Executive, Richard Samuel, has been published in today's Thanet Gazette. The letter is in response to Sarah Vickery's letter, published in the Gazette on 10 December (scroll down the News page to read Sarah's etter), and states:

Fun park consultation

No story exists around the next steps for Dreamland. There was nothing in my statement to BBC South East that isn't self-evidently true. Dreamland lies empty for nine to 10 months a year, contributing nothing to the local economy. The future for the site must be economic activity that is all year round whether that is an amusement park or some other use.

Cllr John Kirby has confirmed the council is carefully considering the details of the inspector's report and in January the full council will decide the way forward. Further public consultation will follow and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss the future with the Save Dreamland Campaign.

Neither Cllr Kirby or I are pre-empting the January decision, which will be fully reported.

Richard Samuel, Thanet council chief executive

Save Dreamland Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, said: "Clearly there is a story around the next steps for Dreamland. Mr Samuel is continuing to apparently ignore what the independent inspector has said. He is, of course, entirely wrong that Dreamland lies empty for nine to 10 months a year. Most amusement parks in Britain - including Dreamland - are open from Easter to the October half-term holidays, which is (count it, Mr Samuel) seven months. Adventure Island at Southend-on-Sea, the owner of which has publicly stated his serious interest in acquiring Dreamland, is open for 12 months a year. The Inspector stated that Dreamland's problems are a matter of management, and that is the only reason why the park has been empty for nine to 10 months a year since 2003. The Inspector also stated that "some other use" (to use Mr Samuel's words) would not be acceptable. We continue to be disappointed by Mr Samuel's position, which is completely inappropriate before the Council has even considered the Inspector's findings. It also begs the question: How many of Thanet's residents will take part in future planning consultations when they see the Council's most senior officer publicly disregarding the findings within hours of their publication?"


Monday, 19 December 2005

An advert has appeared in amusement trade newspaper World's Fair, stating that the entire Dreamland site is to let for up to three years. The contact details on the advert are the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company Ltd at the offices of Waterbridge Group in Newbury, Berkshire. The advert also states that this is "pending redevelopment".

Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, says: "This advert is clearly disappointing after the recent Inspector's Report, which stated that Dreamland should remain an amusement park. Whilst it is good to see that the park might be open next year, it looks like we are going to end up with yet more uncertainty, yet another short-term solution, with travelling rides and no investment in the site itself. As I understand it, whoever takes the site on can be given one month's notice to leave the site at any time. Hardly a recipe for a successful visitor attraction. This demonstrates strongly the need for the Council to hurry up and accept the Inspector's recommendations so that a long-term operator can be found for the park."

Saturday, 10 December 2005

A letter from our very own Sarah Vickery appeared in yesterday's edition of the Thanet Gazette:

Fun park threat
I am delighted the long-awaited inspector's report on the Thanet Local Plan public inquiry has stated Dreamland should remain an amusement park and the listed Scenic Railway at its centre should be protected. The independent inspector has accepted every point made by those wishing to keep Dreamland and has rejected virtually every point made by Thanet council and the sites owner. However, 24 hours after this report was made public, BBC South East Today broadcast a disturbing interview with council chief executive Richard Samuel.
Local residents were interviewed stressing the importance of Dreamland to Margate. The reporter then stated : "But the council doesn't see it that way. They think a fun park isn't viable." Mr Samuel 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."
Thanet council's press release, which accompanied the report, quoted Cllr John Kirby : "We will be considering the inspector's recommendations on this issue carefully over the next few weeks." Cllr Kirby promised consultation with the people of Thanet. How can it be appropriate for the chief executive to be telling the media the council would like to see different uses for Dreamland?  It flies in the face of the inspector's findings and demonstrates a complete disregard for the inquiry process. I hope, like me, you will be watching Thanet council very closely to ensure they treat the inspector's findings with the respect they deserve.
Sarah Vickery, Save Dreamland Campaign