News Archive: May 2010

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Sunday, 23 May 2010

The visit of Carters Steam Fair to Dreamland next weekend is previewed in the Isle of Thanet Gazette, with an interview with owner Anna Carter. Click here for article. A letter also appears in yesterday's Kent on Saturday from councillor David Green, who describes himself as "almost alone" in speaking against Dreamland at the Council meeting on 13 May.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Council votes to provide £4m to Dreamland
Plans to put up to £4 million into creating the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides at Dreamland in Margate have been agreed by Thanet District Council.

The proposals were discussed at an Extraordinary Meeting last night (Thursday 13 May) with members agreeing to put £2.2 million of the council’s money into the project. This is already set out in the council’s existing budget. Members also gave approval for the council to borrow up to £1.8 million, if alternative funding cannot be found.

The £12.5 million project, which is jointly being taken forward by the council, the Dreamland Trust and land owners the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, will create a major new visitor attraction at Dreamland. It would bring several hundred new jobs to the town, along with half a million visitors. They would be able to enjoy historic amusement park rides, many of which are the last surviving examples of their type. These would be built around the listed Scenic Railway, the UK’s oldest surviving wooden roller coaster, and the fourth oldest in the world, which would be the centerpiece of the park. The scheme would also see restoration work carried out on the grade II* listed Dreamland cinema building.

Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “Bringing Dreamland back to life is a key regeneration project for Margate and something that has huge support amongst local people. Members across the council have also given it their backing, which is really encouraging. We all agree that it’s vital for this scheme to go ahead and that’s why we’ve committed enough money to ensure that happens. There’s a huge amount of external funding already on the table and there’s no guarantee we’ll have this much money again for many years. That’s why we need to move forward now to ensure that Dreamland can become a world centre for historic thrill rides, helping to bring jobs and thousands of visitors back into Margate.”

The Dreamland Trust's Project Director, Jonathan Bryant, welcomed the council's decision as an important step forward in the project partnership. He said: “It’s been a long haul, since the Dreamland Trust's original members began the Save Dreamland Campaign. We have a solid partnership with the council and the funders, the Heritage Lottery, the Sea Change fund, and with the current landowners, the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company. We look forward to making a start on the site as soon as the design plans are finalised.”

Funding for the project is coming from the Sea Change Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, with applications submitted for additional money to English Heritage, Arts Council England, SEEDA and Thanet Works. Work should commence towards the end of 2010, with the park expected to open in summer 2012.

The build-up to the decision was covered by ITV Meridian News and the results of the meeting were reported at Kent Online.

Finally, the Thanet Tines reported that Margate residents had feared that Dreamland had been hit by another fire on Thursday, when fire engines surrounded the closed cinema. The newspaper explained that it was only a training exercise: "Cars slowed and shopkeepers and beach-goers watched as three fire engines arrived at the seafront site around 3pm. Residents were relieved though when fire fighters confirmed it was part of a training excercise."

Fireman Trevor West said: "Disused buildings like this are our main priority in this area and we wanted to test our ladders and response. "We are pleased to see the building is well within the reach of the high ladder at Thanet fire station."

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Friday 4 June – 10am to 12 noon – “I Dream of Dreamland” Theme Park Canvas Workshop for families - £3 per person – held at Art for All Workshop, Marine Terrace, Margate – to book call 07984 683267.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Thant District Council's Cabinet this week approved a recommendation from officers to put £2.2m of the Council's money into the Dreamland project, subject to the confirmation of full council. An additional £1.8m may be borrowed for the project as funding from MTCRC is likely to be delayed until market conditions improve and they can proceed with the development. The Council has also agree to have the land transferred from MTCRC to TDC to allow the project to proceed. TDC issued a press release covering this news.

This news was covered by the press and blog sites, including Kent on Saturday and BBC News.

Dreamland was also featured in the January 2010 edition of Funworld Magazine, the Journal of IAAPA (the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions). And a news item from the Thanet Extra in March that we missed out reported that the latest figures from the theme park industry are good news for Dreamland. the article stated:

"Theme parks in the UK are riding high according to a survey of thrill-seeking Brits – and that’s good news for the team behind plans to re-open Dreamland. Ground-breaking plans to transform the desolate attraction into the world’s first heritage amusement park are on track, after campaigners secured about £4million from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in November. It is hoped up to 700,000 people could ride on the Grade II listed Scenic Railway and other historic rollercoasters every year – and new research suggests that target could be achieved.

"Market research company Mintel says the number of people visiting UK theme parks will top 14 million this year – a rise of about two million in five years.  A trend towards holidaying at home meant three per cent of adults visited an amusement park for the first time in 2009. Consumer spending at theme parks also rocketed. From £248 million in 2004 to £315 million last year. This could rise to £374 million by 2014, Mintel predicted."

Dreamland Trust Project Director, Jonathan Bryant, was also quoted in the article, saying: "These figures give us confidence that people will come to a regenerated Margate, especially with the Turner Contemporary that will open a year before Dreamland and will be a hugely complementary attraction.”

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