News: June 2008

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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Monday, 30 June 2008

Yesterday's Kent on Sunday newspaper featured a large article on the proposals for the world's first heritage amusement park at Dreamland, and looked at the work being produced by the Prince's Regeneration Trust (PRT). The article featured an interview with Roland Jeffery of the PRT, Derek Harding of the Margate Renewal Partnership and Nick Laister of the Save Dreamland Campaign.

In the interview, Mr Jeffery states: "We believe it [the Scenic Railway] is repairable. The challenge is to make it viable again." The report also includes an update from Kent Police on investigations into the arson attack on the Scenic railway in April, and a Police spokeswoman states: " is anticipated there may be some updates shortly".

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The Prince's Regeneration Trust has been jointly commissioned by the Margate Renewal Partnership and Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, in association with the Save Dreamland Campaign, to undertake a feasibility study on the restoration of the Scenic Railway and development of a heritage amusement park at Dreamland.
Save Dreamland Campaign leader Nick Laister says: "This is one of the outcomes of the regular meetings that have taken place over the past few months, which Susan Marsh and I have attended. The Prince's Regeneration Trust is advising MTCRC, MRP and their partners in the project (Save Dreamland Campaign/The Dreamland Trust) on a way forward to restoring the Scenic Railway and developing a framework for implementing the heritage amusement park proposal. We are working with the Prince's Regeneration Trust as part of the working group, supplying all the background information on the park, the rides we have 'rescued' and the discussions we have had within the industry about developing the first heritage amusement park. This is a genuine step forward and proof that all parties in this project mean business."

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust said: “Dreamland is a key site for Margate occupying a key location and having a central place in the public’s perception of Margate as a Seaside town. There is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the heritage of Margate while renewing its visitor economy.”

The Prince's Regeneration Trust issued a press release today on the Dreamland heritage amusement park study.

Building Design, the architect's website, carried a report on the plight of the Scenic Railway, to coincide with the publication by Save Britain's Heritage of their annual Buildings at Risk report. Although the news item is inaccurate, it is evidence of the ongoing attention being paid within the heritage industry to the future of the Scenic Railway and Dreamland in general. The news item is here.

In other news, the Isle of Thanet Gazette of 20 June featured a lengthy article on the current plight of Dreamland's other listed structure, the Grade II* Cinema.

Monday, 16 June 2008

The Dreamcoaster event was covered extensively by the Isle of Thanet Gazette on 13 June.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Nick Laister of the Save Dreamland Campaign, Derek Harding of the Margate Renewal Partnership and heritage consultant Jason Wood spent two days on a fact-finding visit to Blackpool this week. The visit included a 'behind-the-scenes' tour of the Pleasure Beach and a meeting with park directors to assist with the masterplanning of the proposed Dreamland Heritage Amusement Park.

The visit also included a further behind the scenes tour of the former Blackpool Odeon (now the 'Funny Girls' show bar) to investigate options for the Dreamland Cinema and a meeting with Doug Garrett, Chief Executive of ReBlackpool (Blackpool's Urban Regeneration Company). Susan Marsh also joined the team for the Pleasure Beach and ReBlackpool meetings.

Above: Pleasure Beach Company Secretary and Director David Cam shows Nick Laister historical amusement park documents in Blackpool. Click on the image for a larger version.  (Photograph: Jason Wood)
In other news, Dreamcoaster was covered by the Thanet Extra on 6 June. The Thanet Adscene on 5 June also provided some coverage.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Above (l to r): Ross Stewart, Jason Wood, Toby Hunter, Susan Marsh, Nick Laister and Dave Collard in front of the 'Dreamcoaster' at the Save Dreamland Campaign/LIMBO exhibition on Monday. Click for a larger version.

Nick Laister and Susan Marsh of the Save Dreamland Campaign met with Toby Hunter and Ross Stewart of Waterbridge, Derek Harding of the Margate Renewal Partnership, Nick Dermott and Doug Brown of Thanet District Council, Anita Gardiner of English Partnerships and heritage consultant Jason Wood yesterday. The meeting, which was held at Margate's Media Centre, discussed the efforts being made to restore the Scenic Railway (for which there is no timetable yet) and plans for the proposed heritage amusement park.

Afterwards, the group visited the Dreamcoaster Exhibition, being held at the Substation Project Space, Margate. The group is pictured above in front of part of the huge replica of the Scenic railway, which had been constructed by the Margate community the previous week. The group watched the hour long DVD of Dreamland footage and read many of the messages posted by Margate's residents.

A gallery of photographs of the Dreamcoaster event is below. Click on the thumbnails for a larger version. The Exhibition is open daily until Saturday 7 June and is well worth a visit.



Photographs (c) Nick Laister/

In addition to good coverage of Dreamcoaster, today's Thanet Times featured an interview with Toby Hunter on the future of the Scenic.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Friday's Thanet Extra carried an article on the Dreamcoaster event, currently running at the Substation Project Space in Margate.

Friday's Isle of Thanet Gazette also carried a preview of the event.

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