News Archive: July 2009

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Sunday, 26 July 2009

News of the Trust’s successful Lottery bid has been reported widely over the weekend, with Meridian News, BBC Radio Kent, Isle of Thanet Gazette, Amusement Today and KMFM running the story. Click here for the Thanet Extra feature, here for the Isle of Thanet Gazette piece and here for the news from BBC South East Today.

The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, which coordinated the project’s funding bids, has also issued a press release about the news, which you can read 
here. Rosie Fraser, Commercial Director, says: “This is a real vote of confidence in Margate…. We are delighted to be able to take this crucial step towards placing Dreamland at the heart of Margate once more.”

Friday, 24 July 2009

Fasten your seatbelts: plans progress for Dreamland Margate
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given the green light to The Dreamland Trust to work up plans to create the world’s first amusement park of historic rides, it was announced today.  Development funding of £384,500 was awarded to help progress the ground-breaking plans. 

The HLF first-round pass means that The Dreamland Trust can now progress to the second stage of the HLF application process.  We have up to two years to submit more detailed plans and apply for the £2.65 million of HLF support that we are seeking for Phase One of the project, which totals over £12 million. 

The Dreamland Margate project celebrates the heritage of popular seaside culture, of which this site is a nationally important example. Phase One will create a thrilling amusement park of historic rides, many of which are the last surviving examples of their type. Over the past decade, these rides have been rescued from across the UK by The Dreamland Trust, with the assistance of site owners the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company; visitors will be able to experience the visceral thrill of riding this rare and precious collection. 

Centred on the Grade II-listed Scenic Railway, it is expected that the park will generate considerable employment opportunities for local people and attract around 700,000 visits annually. Entry to the park and landscaped gardens will be free of charge with wristbands being sold for those who want to experience the rides.

During Phase One work will also be carried out on the Grade II*-listed Dreamland cinema building, restoring its 1930s Modernist façade, safeguarding the auditorium and Compton Noterman organ, and installing an exhibition space to explain and publicise the project. It’s planned that the cinema building will house a national centre of street style, celebrating Margate’s pedigree as Britain’s capital of popular culture, and sharing our rich legacy in music, fashion, photography and graphic design.

Commenting on the award, Dreamland Trust Honorary Secretary Susan Marsh said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us the opportunity to further develop our vision for Dreamland Margate. Along with our partners at the Margate Renewal Partnership, Thanet District Council and the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, we are committed to bringing this project to reality as quickly as possible. We will now work up detailed plans to ensure that we deliver this unique new visitor attraction in the heart of Margate, providing a major boost for the tourism economy and giving the people of Margate what they have so long wished for – a revitalised Dreamland.”

Dreamland Trust Chair Nick Laister said: "This is really good news for this project. I am sure all of our supporters will join me in thanking our Honorary Secretary Susan Marsh for all her hard work in submitting this successful bid on behalf of the Dreamland Trust. I know that both Susan and Sarah Vickery burned a great deal of midnight oil over many weeks putting together our submission and dealing with queries. I would also like to thank Derek Harding at the Margate Renewal Partnership, Peter Beck at Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, Nick Dermott at Thanet District Council and both Roland Jeffery and Rosie Fraser at The Prince's Regeneration Trust for their support. We will now begin work recruiting a Project Director to take the Dreamland project through to implementation, followed by a number of other key appointments. Announcements will be made shortly."

The Dreamland team is also awaiting an announcement on the bid for £4m to the Government's Sea Change scheme, a decision on which is expected soon.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Thanet Extra on 17 July included comedian Joe Pasquale's supportive comments about the proposals for Dreamland.

The Isle of Thanet Gazette of the same date reports on a new “vision” for Thanet that has been unveiled by Thanet District Council, including Dreamland. The new document, which is described by the Gazette as "a rose-tinted view of how Thanet could look in 2030", says:

“Dreamland has been transformed into a striking 21st century attraction; a national centre for the preservation and celebration of the heritage and culture of seaside amusement parks and popular seaside entertainment.”

Saturday, 11 July 2009

There were a number of Dreamland-related meetings last week. Nick Laister represented the Dreamland Trust at a meeting with Sea Change programme director Sarah Gaventa in Margate on Tuesday 6 July. This included a visit to the site and a tour of the Cinema building.

On Thursday 8 July, Nick Laister, Sarah Vickery and Neil Sparkes represented the Trust at a meeting of the Dreamland Client Group in Margate. Also in attendance were representatives from Margate Renewal Partnership, Thanet District Council, Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company and The Prince's Regeneration Trust. On the agenda were the various grant bids and the construction programme.

We have now updated the Heritage Amusement Park pages to include details of the Junior Whip, which was acquired from Pleasure Beach Blackpool in June. Click here for the Junior Whip page.

Tuesday, 6 July 2009

Sea Change decision expected soon

Tension mounts as the Save Dreamland Campaign waits to hear if Thanet District Council's bid for £4million from Wave 3 of Sea Change funding has been successful. The application was put together by a committed team from the Margate Renewal Partnership, The Dreamland Trust, site owners the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company and Thanet District Council. Feasibility work for the project was also supported by Kent County Council, SEEDA, English Heritage and the Arts Council England.

The Government-funded Sea Change scheme aims to regenerate historic seaside towns through investment in cultural projects. Its priority is to invest in the most deprived seaside resorts in England, and in the best quality applications.

"Sadly, Margate certainly falls into the first category," comments Sarah Vickery. "On a more positive note, we all believe that our application is of the highest calibre."

A decision is expected to be made public by the end of July. For more information on the initiative:

And keep everything crossed!

Junior Whip benefactor revealed

In previous news items we mentioned that the cost of the acquisition of the Junior Whip from Pleasure Beach Blackpool was met by a benefactor. We can now reveal that the benefactor is Save Dreamland Campaign member Dave Love, whose contribution made this acquisition possible. Here are some photographs of Dave with the ride he has donated to the Trust, and other photographs of the ride being unloaded - click on the thumbnail for a larger version. (Photographs: Susan Marsh and Dave Collard)

Susan Marsh and benefactor, Dave Love Dave Love with the Junior Whip, which he acquired for the Trust. Susan Marsh and the man who drove the Junior Whip from Blackpool to Margate, funded by the Trust's recent appeal. Eric Marsh with a Junior Whip car and Dave Collard behind. The Junior Whip cars on the Ainsworth & Martin lorry.

Dave Love with the Junior Whip. Dave Collard unloads the cars from the lorry. Detailing on the cars, which operated until recently at Pleasure Beach Blackpool.    

Dreamland Trust Honorary Secretary Susan Marsh writes about the arrival of the Junior Whip in Margate on 23 June 2009:

Arrival Day

When we heard the Junior Whip was available to us, the last survivor in Britain in original condition, we had to have it. The challenge started, but thanks to our loyal supporters, it was not insurmountable. In fact, a Benefactor agreed to pay for the ride, an appeal was underway for the transport and Thanet District Council agreed to help with a forklift.

It was with that information I hit Margate to oversee the arrival as well as have meetings.

On Monday I worried, double checked the arrangements for the forklift, and ensured there was an early morning call for Dave Collard. Like me, he is not a morning person.

Tuesday I was up very early - sleep escapes you at such times. It was surprised hotel staff who saw us arrive downstairs ahead of the breakfast hour; well, we could start on the cold buffet. Two spoons of Cornflakes and the mobile rang. It was the driver, who I had asked for an advance call, to tell me he was at the first lay by after the M2.

It was soon time to hit the road. Still nervous I rang the security man on the way to ensure access to our safe storage site, took a call from Sarah to tell me not only was Dave up and about but en-route.

I hit the site and my husband Eric went off onto the main road to ensure the vehicle actually turned into the right place. The man with keys arrived, soon followed by Dave and Scott and then on rolled a great big forklift. The nerves began to recede.

Towards me walked a man I hadn’t met before - coincidentally, our Benefactor was in town and had come to see the arrival!

Finally the wagon from Ainsworth and Martin pulled in with a very cheerful driver, JP, who, despite being from a Blackpool family, had spent some of his younger years in south London and Margate, especially Dreamland, had been his stamping ground.

Everyone helped unload the wagon and secure the ride; Mark came along and assisted with storage. Eric had to be the one to cover himself with grease pulling a car from the ride; the easiest way to move them he told me.

A good job done and followed by a welcome brew, courtesy of Ted.

A very big thank you to everyone who helped make this possible.

Susan Marsh

There was also a very small piece about the arrival of the Whip in Friday's Isle of Thanet Gazette.

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