News Archive: May 2009

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Tracey Emin calls for Dreamland to be rebuilt
Margate-born Tracey Emin has called for Dreamland to be rebuilt at the launch of a new show in London. Emin was speaking to BBC News at the launch of 'Those Who Suffer Love' at the White Cube Gallery, Piccadilly.

When asked by BBC News what Margate needs to do to get back on its feet, she stated: "Margate needs some money. Let's get Dreamland rebuilt, let's get the seafront looking beautiful, let's have an antiques market once a month. Let's get Margate back on the map".

Emin's call comes as the Government considers an application for grant funding to rebuild the famous amusement park.

Click here to download the clip in wmv format.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Local paper calls for Dreamland support
The Isle of Thanet Gazette has called on the people of Margate to support the Dreamland Client Group's bids for grant funding to rebuild Dreamland Margate.
Continued coverage of Times article
Your Thanet on 20 May features extensive coverage of Dreamland Margate. The front page headline is 'Park Strikes Back at Snooty Article', which reports Dreamland Trust chair Nick Laister's defence of Dreamland and Margate in The Times last week, following the article of 13 May by Richard Morrison. The article includes an interview with Nick in which he sets out why The Times is wrong.

Page 4 of the same newspaper features a report on the bid for 4m of Sea Change grant funding from the DCMS. This features comments on the bid from Thanet District Council Chief Executive Richard Samuel and from Nick Laister, who notes that the grant applications are a very competitive process this year.

(The 'Park Strikes Back' article can be viewed online here).

A further reader has written to The Times in response to the 13 May article. The writer, from St Albans, states: "Once the Turner is complete and Dreamland running, I defy anyone to say it is not a lovely holiday destination." Read letter in full...
Dreamland takes to the stage
Dreamland takes to the stage in a special free evening of theatre in Margate on Sunday 24 May. Called 'Dreamland', the event takes place at the Theatre Royal in Margate and is presented by Net Curtains Theatre Company. The evening will combine comedy, drama and nostalgia while looking forward at the town's regeneration.

The London-based company, which has Richard Briers as a patron, commissioned the plays. The Company's website states: "The existence in the popular memory of a place called Dreamland at a time when a community is discussing and devising its future is a theatrical goldmine." There will be three site-specific plays around this transition from the past to the exciting future. One will be voted to become the "play for Margate", best reflecting the town's personality and its place in 21st-century Britain.

The third play - Soul'd by James Woolf - will be of most interest to Dreamland campaigners, as it looks at one man's quest to save what he can from the remains of a burnt-out Dreamland roller-coaster.

To get your free tickets, phone the box office on 01227 787787. For more information, visit


Click on the image above for a larger version, or click here to go to the website, which includes background information on the evening.
New photo galleries
The Save Dreamland Campaign has also launched three new photo galleries:

1. The little-known Switchback Railway roller coaster predated the Scenic Railway and was one of the very first roller coasters to ever operate in the UK. But it was not located at Dreamland. This gallery pieces together the limited information on this ride. View...

2. A gallery of postcards of Sanger's Menagerie and gardens, which predated Dreamland. Remains of the cages and other structures were discovered last year and are now listed. View...

New gallery: The Scenic Railway after the fire.
3. A set of photographs of the Scenic Railway shortly after the devastating fire in 2008, when the Campaign was given exclusive access to the ride. View...
News roundup
The Isle of Thanet Gazette of 8 May reported the latest grant funding application by the Dreamland Client Group. The Thanet Extra on 8 May featured a news item on the Mr G's amusement arcade which was destroyed by fire in 2003, in which the co-ordinator for Margate Town Partnership explains that the regeneration of Dreamland is essential to the future of the town.

The unveiling of the heritage amusement park plans was featured in the May 2009 edition of Platform, the journal of The Fairground Society.

Finally, the Isle of Thanet Gazette letters page of 15 May contained this idea for a new ride that could be installed at Dreamland when it reopens.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Dreamland Trust chair defends Margate in The Times
The Times newspaper published a letter from Dreamland Trust chair Nick Laister following Wednesday's extremely negative article about Dreamland. The letter contrasts the Trust's proposals for Dreamland with the ill-founded assumptions made by correspondent Richard Morrison in an article that described Margate as "a blot on the landscape that could disappear overnight without a murmur of lament". View Laister's defence of Margate and the Trust's Dreamland proposals here.

Thanet District Council's website has also been carrying the latest news on Dreamland over the past few days. Their website has recently reported the Sea Change bid submission and the town's starring role in The Apprentice.

Check back to the site over the weekend for news of an evening of theatre at Margate's Theatre Royal called...Dreamland!

Laister: "Few seaside resorts have such a strong place in popular seaside entertainment culture"

Thursday, 14 May 2009

The Apprentice - the morning after
Margate received extensive national exposure yesterday when The Apprentice came to town. Yesterday, we carried some of the many media articles on the town and the Dreamland Margate project, on the build-up to the BBC One broadcast. Today, we ask the question: what can the Save Dreamland Campaign and the team bringing forward proposals for the Dreamland Amusement Park learn from Alan Sugar's apprentices?

There is nobody better to answer that question than our very own Sarah Vickery, who appeared on the top-rated show:

"I was rather surprised by how rubbish the teams were - I've watched every series of the Apprentice and I think this lot is the ropiest yet!

Margate on BBC One primetime: Sarah Vickery (left) and Alan Sugar

"The Ignite team mentioned the Grotto in their copy, but didn't even bother to come here, and the Empire posters and leaflets were laughably bad.

"What a missed opportunity for Margate. Eight supposedly talented people, branding experts on hand, the might and budget of the BBC - and they didn't come up with a single usable idea."

The show aired just two weeks after Thanet District Council submitted a 4million bid to the Government’s Sea Change grant scheme for funding to help create the world’s first amusement park of historic rides on Dreamland. And this was hot on the heels of an application for over 2.6million to the Heritage Lottery Fund in March, submitted by The Dreamland Trust with assistance from The Prince’s Regeneration Trust.

Dreamland Trust Chair Nick Laister comments: "We know that filming of The Apprentice took place last October. Back then we had only just been awarded a relatively small Government grant to undertake feasibility work on the Dreamland project, so we didn't expect our plans to feature heavily in the contestants’ presentations.”

“We now have detailed plans for this striking new attraction which will transform Margate. It’s a reminder of how much progress has been made in such an incredibly short period of time.”

Does Nick Laister agree with Sarah Vickery that The Apprentice teams were rubbish?

"They were appalling".

“I don’t believe Margate needs rebranding,” says Laister. “It’s a traditional seaside town with a fantastic beach, beautiful architecture, loyal fans and passionate residents – but it has been allowed to decline over a number of years. Our plans for Dreamland will halt that decline, transform the town and create a genuinely compelling new visitor attraction.”

“Our project has backing from residents, businesses and key stakeholders in the area and that shared vision puts us in a very strong position.”

In related news, The Telegraph newspaper featured an article on the current state of Margate, focussing on our plans for a new theme park at Dreamland. The article states: "The idea of putting Margate back on the tourist map is not just the stuff of reality television but a problem that has been consuming local tourism officials for years. More than a third of the Scenic Railway was destroyed in the 2008 fire but plans are now underway to restore it in time for the opening of the 17.5 million Turner gallery in 2011." Read the article in full...

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Today's Times newspaper carries a lengthy feature on Margate to tie in with the Apprentice's visit, called 'What's wrong with Margate'. The article is very critical of the town and its regeneration proposals, including Dreamland. Click here for Dreamland Trust chair Nick Laister's response.

In a flurry of press interest in Dreamland caused by The Apprentice (9pm tonight, BBC One, The Guardian newspaper includes a much more upbeat article on Margate from Iain Aitch, identifying Dreamland as a "plus point". View article...

And BBC One's South East Today featured an extensive piece from Margate, comparing the proposals that are to be seen on The Apprentice with the proposals emerging from the town itself. Nick Laister (The Dreamland Trust), Derek Harding (Margate Renewal Partnership) and Peter Beck (MTCRC) are seen at Dreamland, with Nick Laister describing The Apprentice as a "gimmick" and stating that the real solution is to go "back to the future" with the Dreamland proposals. The programme can be viewed online for 24 hours here.

Read more about the proposals for a compelling new visitor attraction at Dreamland Margate in our Sea Change Proposal Document or on our special Dreamland Micro-Site.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The last couple of days have seen a flurry of activity as work continues on efforts to bring a world's first tourist attraction to Dreamland, Margate. Monday 11 May saw a meeting of the Dreamland Client Group and their advisors at the offices of the Princes Regeneration trust in London. Nick Laister, Susan Marsh and Sarah Vickery all attended to represent the Dreamland Trust. Points discussed included the ongoing work in relation to the recent bids and the timetable to deliver the attraction.

Today saw assessors from Sea Change in Margate to discuss the 4m bid with the Dreamland Client Group. This included a site visit to Dreamland, where the assessors were shown inside the Cinema the amusement park. Nick Laister represented the Trust throughout the day, and Council Leader Sandy Ezekiel and Chief Executive Richard Samuel were present throughout most of the session. BBC One's South East Today featured a report on the visit.

This is Kent featured a report on the latest funding bid, including quotes from Dreamland Trust Chair Nick Laister.

Margate gets the Alan Sugar treatment tomorrow when the Amstrad boss sends his apprentices to the seaside to rebrand the town. Tomorrow's The Apprentice on BBC One features Margate extensively and this has resulted in much interest from the media in the resort.

This is Kent includes an extensive article on the programme, which features Shell Grotto owner and The Dreamland Trust's treasurer, Sarah Vickery. Sarah apparently told the apprentices: "Your visions are dreadful. They’re just dreadful." Derek Harding of the Margate Renewal Partnership, one of the key players bringing Dreamland back to life, is also featured. Sarah was also interviewed by Invicta FM today and Radio Kent yesterday.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

A report in today's national Times newspaper mentions the proposed heritage amusement park at Dreamland, and features comments on the town's regeneration plans from Council Leader Sandy Ezekiel and the Margate Renewal Partnership's Derek Harding.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Sea Change application submitted - decision expected in July
The Dreamland Client Group (made up of The Dreamland Trust, Margate Renewal Partnership, Thanet District Council and Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company) submitted an application for grant funding of 4m on Thursday to Wave 3 of the DCMS's Sea Change Large Grants programme. The full submission can be downloaded as a PDF by clicking on the report cover to the right. In addition, the application form is downloadable by clicking here.

The application was supported by numerous other reports, including Business Plan; Outline Design Report; Historical Overview; Conservation Statement; and Interpretation Strategy Report. These can all be downloaded from this link. We expect that announcements on Wave 3 applications will be made in late July.

This application follows a separate application to Heritage Lottery Fund on 31 March for 3m, which was submitted by The Dreamland Trust on behalf of the Dreamland Client Group. The results of this application will be announced later this year.

Discuss the bid on our Forum.

Urban Panel Report imminent - Dreamland proposals strongly supported
Back in March, Margate was visited by the Government’s Urban Panel (made up of the Commission for the Built Environment and English Heritage), and Dreamland was on their list of places to visit (Read news item about their visit...). The Dreamland Trust has seen part of their report, which will shortly be released. Not only is the Urban Panel supporting the Dreamland proposal, they have singled it out as one of the most important projects in the town.

The report concludes: “The Panel urged that the vision of Dreamland re-opening as the first and nationally unique heritage fairground be promoted with urgency and drive and without unnecessary burdens...Accordingly, Trust, Partnership and Authority were urged to turn all necessary attention to the re-emergence of Dreamland”.

In other news, the proposed Dreamland heritage amusement park is mentioned in a report on the River Caves fire at Southport's Pleasureland in the Champion newspaper.

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