News: April 2007

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, 30 April 2007


In the week that Dreamland’s owners, Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company (MTCRC), launched its public consultation exercise on the future of the amusement park site, the Save Dreamland Campaign launches its new Vision for Dreamland.

The Campaign launched its previous Vision for Dreamland - 'I Dream of Dreamland' - in March 2005, which showed a Concept Plan of how Dreamland could look if acquired by one of the theme park operators interested in taking on the site. This plan was backed by Southend's Adventure Island Theme Park, one of the operators vying to take over the park.

Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, says:

"Our March 2005 Concept Plan remains our favoured option for the site. However, without the strong support we wanted for the protection of Dreamland in the Local Plan, we have had to think of a 'Plan B', which allows for some of Dreamland to be redeveloped whilst ensuring the continuation of a major visitor attraction on the site. The Heritage Amusement Park is our Plan B - but what an exciting Plan B it is."

Nick continues: "The Save Dreamland Campaign has held several meetings over the past few months with Thanet District Council and the Margate Renewal Partnership (MRP) to develop the concept of a Heritage Amusement Park at Dreamland, based around the listed Scenic Railway. The Heritage Amusement Park, which would be a world's first, would include some of the remaining examples of Britain's amusement park heritage, in a high quality park-like environment around the Scenic Railway. The listed Cinema building would also be brought back into use with rides, shows, bars, restaurants and an amusement park/seaside heritage museum."

The Campaign has carried out some initial feasibility work on the viability of the project and has commissioned theme park designer Jean-Marc Toussaint to produce a new Concept Plan (see below) for the site showing how the park could look, based on an initial site area provided by MRP. The Plan shows a potential selection of vintage amusement park rides of the type that could operate at the park.

Nick continues: "Our position right at the start of this Campaign was that some of the park could be redeveloped if it ensured the long-term survival of the park. We see funding from the developer, along with other grant funding, as critical in delivering this attraction. The park could then be owned and potentially operated by a trust, after which it would be self-sufficient. We have produced a business plan and have also carried out a feasibility study on the availability of rides and attractions. We are already in talks with several amusement parks around the UK that are closing or have closed about taking a small selection of the rides that best represent Britain's amusement park heritage. Margate's unique selling point is the iconic Scenic Railway - so where better in the UK to put such a heritage amusement park, next to the UK's most famous piece of amusement park heritage? We are confident that this is a realistic proposal, which should attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to Margate every year."

The Concept Plan demonstrates that the Heritage Park can be accommodated within approximately 7 acres, the exact location to be determined at a later date.

The Campaign will be submitting this Concept Plan to MTCRC as its formal response to the current consultation exercise. The Campaign is also consulting with its own members on the Heritage Park concept.

Nick concludes: "We look forward to working with the owners of Dreamland and Thanet District Council to bring this attraction, which should put Margate on the world stage, to Dreamland."

Click on the Concept Plan below for a high resolution version.

Click here for the press release and here for more information.

Friday, 27 April 2007

The Thanet Times featured a news item on the forthcoming Dreamland consultation on 24 April. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Campaign Leader Nick Laister is interviewed by the Mid Devon Star as a campaign is launched to save some rides at a popular Devon theme park. Read article

Monday, 23 April 2007

The Isle of Thanet Gazette featured a news item on the forthcoming Dreamland consultation on 13 April as did the Thanet Times on 17/04/07.

Friday, 20 April 2007

A new section of the Save Dreamland Campaign website has been launched for stories, poems and articles submitted by members. And to celebrate the launch of the Features page we have a Save Dreamland Campaign exclusive. 'All the Fun of the Fair' is a brand new short story based around Dreamland and the Scenic Railway by writer and Campaign member Paul Worts (pictured, right). This is an uplifting tale that will send a shiver down the reader's spine. And any reader who knows their roller coaster history will get an extra pay-off at the end, as the story has a twist in its tale.

Paul says: "Dreamland and the Scenic are very dear to my heart and I tried to capture some of the reasons for this in the story. It was also meant as a thank you/tribute to the Campaign."

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Campaign Leader Nick Laister was in Margate for a meeting with representatives from Thanet District Council and the Margate Renewal Partnership to discuss the future of Dreamland.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Congratulations to Save Dreamland Campaign Coordinator, Sarah Vickery, on the birth of her baby girl at 9.10am on Thursday 5th April. Baby Vickery weighed 5lb 10oz. The baby's name is still undecided. Mum and baby both doing well!

Unfortunately, we don't have a picture of mother and baby, so we wheeled in Scenic Railway brakeman Dave Collard to stand in for Sarah. Dave is pictured right with with Sarah's baby at the Shell Grotto (click on the photo for a larger version).

Post your congratulations on a special thread over on the Forum.

Thursday, 5 April 2006

The Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company (MTCRC, the owner of Dreamland) is to hold an exhibition showing two possible schemes for the redevelopment of the Amusement Park from Saturday 28 April until Bank Holiday Monday 7 May. The exhibition will feature two "planning models" of the site and accompanying architectural plans from DLA Architecture. The exhibition will be housed in a temporary structure within the events site (the same location as the 'Burning Man' event), above the car park. Opening hours will be from 11am until 7pm. The exhibition will be manned at all times and visitors will be encouraged to leave feedback on the two schemes.

The Runaway Coaster (right, click on image for larger version) at the former Rotunda Amusement Park, Folkestone, was demolished today. Built in 1922, it was a side-friction figure eight coaster, of the type that was popular (and relatively common) in the UK before the Second World War. Save Dreamland Campaign Leader, Nick Laister, made the following statement this evening:

"The Save Dreamland Campaign has worked tirelessly over the last few days to save the Runaway Coaster, being the only side friction figure eight coaster left in the UK and one of only two in the world. We believed it to be an important part of amusement park heritage."

Photograph: Ian Mansfield
Nick continues: "The ride was earmarked for demolition first thing on Monday but we contacted the developers of the former Rotunda Park and told them that we wanted to move the ride off the site and store it. The developers agreed to delay demolition by 48 hours to give us time to confirm in writing that the ride would be removed within six weeks. An engineer visited the site on Tuesday and carefully inspected the ride, which was found to be in remarkably good condition, although some wood replacement would have been necessary. A quote was obtained from an established ride transport company for dismantling the ride and moving it to storage. We were fortunate to secure financial backing for this and our supporter wrote, on our behalf, to the developer confirming that the work would be done within the required period. Despite confirming receipt of the letter, demolition proceeded today regardless with no explanation. This is disappointing as there are no more traditional side friction coasters left in the UK.”
More Runaway demolition photos...
Photographs: Ian Mansfield