News Archive: November 2009

Click here for the latest news

Monday, 23 November 2009 UPDATED

News coverage of the £3.7m grant continues, with a major double page spread in Friday's Isle of Thanet Gazette. There has also been further blog discussion here.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

The news of Dreamland's funding appears in Kent on Saturday and you can watch Margaret Hodge being shown around the Dreamland site by Nick Laister and Sandy Ezekiel on YourKentTV.

Friday, 20 November 2009

More Dreamland in the media!
News of the £3.7m grant has continued to interest local and national media. Your Thanet featured an article about the grant, with an interview with Margaret Hodge in which she revealed her memories of childhood visits to Dreamland and rides on the Scenic Railway! Click on the image to the right for a larger version.

The short piece about Dreamland on ITV1's Meridian Tonight is currently viewable on the website.

The Culture 24 website features the Dreamland news prominently. Attractions Management also featured the news, as did InterPark and Planning Magazine.

The £3.7m grant is also creating much excitement at the Save Dreamland Forum and at the Thanet Waves blog (which features the front cover of the Thanet Times, for those who are not in the area).

Tuesday, 17 November 2009 UPDATED

Dreamland in the media!
Margaret Hodge MP visited Margate yesterday to announce the seven resorts that are to benefit from this year's Sea Change funding.

It was fitting that she announced the 2009 funding from Dreamland Margate, which is the biggest recipient of funding this year.

Nick Laister (Chair of The Dreamland Trust), Derek Harding (Margate Renewal Partnership), Peter Beck and Toby Hunter (Dreamland owners MTCRC) showed the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport around the Dreamland site and explained to her exactly what this funding will achieve.

Pictured to the right in front of the Scenic Railway (l to r): Nick Laister, Margaret Hodge MP, Roger Gale MP, Sandy Ezekiel, Derek Harding and Peter Beck.

There have been numerous reports of the visit and the £3.7m grant. Here are some of the most interesting:

Click on the image above to view a larger version. Photograph: Thanet District Council


The BBC's South East Today covered the news, including interviews with Nick Laister and Margaret Hodge MP and footage of the visit on both the lunchtime and evening news. Click here to view the lunchtime news and here to view the extended coverage in the evening news.

ITV1's Meridian News in the south east also gave extensive coverage in the evening news. Click here to view.


BBC Radio 2 News covered the Dreamland story on Monday morning and BBC Radio Kent featured the news item prominently all day, generally based around interviews with Nick Laister and Derek Harding. Click here to listen to a lengthy item about Dreamland on the Andy Garland show, with listeners phoning in with their thoughts on the project and interviews with site owner Toby Hunter and Dreamland Trust chair Nick Laister.

Nick Laister also appeared on KMFM and Heart FM.


The following websites carried news of Dreamland's cash injection: BBC News website, Kent News, Leisure Management Magazine and property website TheMoveChannel.


There has been much coverage in the local and national press: Kent Online (including an audio recording of Margaret Hodge in which she talks about how much she likes the Dreamland proposals), The Isle of Thanet Gazette, a somewhat inaccurate report about Prince Charles setting up a vintage amusement park(!) in the Daily Express along with a similar report in the Daily Mail.


Building Magazine and Regeneration & Renewal Magazine.


The upbeat Nemesis Republic, the unceasingly defeatist blog Eastcliff Richard, some good wishes from Thanet Waves and a mention in Thanet Press among others.

The news is also featured on the Thanet District Council website and the DCMS website.

Whilst the media was at Dreamland, some equally important discussions were taking place at the Margate Media Centre as potential candidates for the Audience Development Officer role were interviewed by Dreamland Trustees Sarah Vickery, Mandy Wilkins and Neil Sparkes, with Nick Dermott from Thanet District Council also in attendance.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Dreamland Margate awarded £3.7m by UK Government
In the most important landmark in the six-year campaign to save Dreamland Margate, the Government has today announced that it has awarded £3.7m to the project. This is the largest grant in the 2009 Sea Change programme, funded by DCMS (Department for Culture Media and Sport), which is designed to invigorate England’s seaside towns through investment in culture and heritage.

It will allow the Grade II-listed Scenic Railway roller coaster, built in 1920 and the oldest roller coaster in the UK, to be restored to its former glory. As well as securing the long-term future of one of the best-loved seaside structures in the country, the funding will allow the creation of the world’s first amusement park exclusively comprised of thrilling historic rides.
CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) Chief Executive Richard Simmons, who has led the project on behalf of the Government, commenting on the seven coastal resorts that will be receiving a grant, said:

“These seven projects all demonstrate how culture can be a catalyst to recapture the flair that these places enjoyed in their heyday. I especially like the plan to regenerate Dreamland in Margate, and showcase the country’s oldest rollercoaster, a listed scenic railway. It is ambitious projects like this, creating new national attractions, that can rekindle the English love affair with our seaside.”

The Dreamland Margate project is being led by The Dreamland Trust, a not-for-profit company born out of the Save Dreamland Campaign. The £3.7m grant will help to create an exciting theme park from the past on the Dreamland site, giving visitors the chance to enjoy spectacular historic amusement park rides. Many of these have been rescued by The Dreamland Trust from amusement parks across the UK over the past decade and many are the last surviving examples of their type.

The Rt. Hon Margaret Hodge MBE is welcomed to Dreamland by Nick Laister, chair of the Dreamland Trust. Thanet District Council Leader Sandy Ezekiel looks on. Click on the image to view larger photograph. Photograph: Thanet District Council

The rides will be built around the centrepiece of the park, the Scenic Railway, the oldest surviving roller coaster in the UK and the fourth oldest in the world. Restoration work will also be carried out on the Grade II*-listed Dreamland cinema building, creating a major new visitor attraction of international significance.
Nick Laister, who set up the campaign to save Dreamland and is now chair of The Dreamland Trust, said: "This is fantastic news and is yet another very positive step to delivering this world's first visitor attraction. We are very pleased that CABE and English Heritage share our view, and that of the people of Margate, that this proposal has the ability to create an outstanding, 21st-century attraction at Margate, capitalising on the resort's unique heritage in a way that will make a huge contribution to the regeneration of the town.

“The Scenic Railway roller coaster has not operated since 2006 and was badly damaged by fire following an arson attack last year. This grant should now secure the future of this remarkable structure and allow work to start on rebuilding it next year, along with all the other rides that we have rescued.
“On behalf of the Dreamland Trust, I would like to thank our partners in the bid, and in particular Derek Harding of the Margate Renewal Partnership, Peter Beck and Toby Hunter of Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company and Nick Dermott of Thanet District Council. We simply could not have achieved this without them. I very much look forward to working with them over the coming months as we reinstate Dreamland at the heart of Margate."

The official announcement on the CABE website can be viewed here, which draws attention to the fact that Dreamland was the proposal that excited them the most.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

As the tension mounts for the results of Dreamland's application for £4m of funding from the Government's Sea Change programme (an announcement is expected shortly), one of the organisations behind the programme, English Heritage, has published an article about Margate being on the verge of a "breakthrough" in heritage-based regeneration.

The article is in the Autumn 2009 issue of English Heritage's Conservation Bulletin magazine. Author, EH's Planning and Development Regional Director for the South-East Region, Andy Brown, has positive words about the Dreamland project in the article, which is  called 'A creative future for seaside resorts: Margate, Turner and beyond':

"The rebirth of the Dreamland amusement park would compliment (sic) perfectly the Turner Contemporary in conserving the distinctive character of the place. In July the HLF awarded a development grant of £384,500 which may allow the flagship Grade II* listed cinema to become the gateway to the world’s first amusement park exclusively of historic rides...At the time of writing, a decision is awaited on the application to the Sea Change funding programme for a substantial investment in this project." Read in full...

Conservation Bulletin: Dreamland Margate awaits Sea Change news

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Second round interviews for the post of Project Director for Dreamland Margate took place at the Margate Media Centre on 3 November 2009. The Dreamland Trust will be making an announcement over the next couple of weeks regarding this post.

In other news, the 6 November 2009 issue of Planning Magazine, the journal of the Royal Town Planning Institute, featured a major article on seaside regeneration, looking at how a mix of cultural regeneration and higher education is being increasingly seen as a way through the ongoing uncertainty over economic prospects and restrictions on public spending. The article, which is based around an interview with University of Sussex director Professor Fred Gray, includes a section on Margate, with reference to the Dreamland project.

Read Page 1 | Read Page 2

Sunday, 1 November 2009

First round interviews for the post of Project Director for the Dreamland Trust took place at the Margate Media Centre on 27 and 28 November 2009. The interview panel was made up of Nick Laister, Sarah Vickery and Neil Sparkes of the Dreamland Trust and Derek Harding of the Margate Renewal Partnership. An announcement is expected to be made shortly.

The Thanet Times of 27 October 2009 featured a small item of news of a funfair returning to Dreamland for one night only.

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