News Archive: July 2010

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Sunday, 18 December 2011

Dreamland sign shines again
Dreamland's iconic lights were switched on at a special event on the evening of 16 December and will be lit nightly for the festive period until Sunday 1 January 2012. The work is being paid for by money that Thanet District Council received in 2009 from the Sea Change Fund through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Contractors have been carrying out major repairs to the grade II* listed Cinema building since May 2011. The work was started after a series of Urgent Works Notices were served on the owners of the building earlier this year. To date, the contractors have been carrying out re-pointing and structural repairs to the steel frame and concrete, and to the doors and windows. Some of the roof structure has also had to be replaced, due to its poor condition. The work is expected to be completed by spring 2012.

The majority of the exterior work to the Cinema building has now been completed, with the next phase due to look at the interior. This will include restoring power to the organ, which has not been used since power was cut off to it in 2005. Once power is restored, the council will be inviting David Wattenbach, who rebuilt the organ following the 1987 hurricane, to assess its condition.

More photographs on our Facebook page.

Photograph: Dave Collard and Leslie Burden

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

New project director joins The Dreamland Trust
Mike Nuttall has joined The Dreamland Trust as its new Project Director. Mike has a strong commercial background with a particular focus on leisure, entertainment and tourism led regeneration developments in the UK, working alongside a number of public and private sector partners. He brings with him a wealth of skills essential for taking the Dreamland Project forward.

Of his new appointment Mike said; “I am genuinely excited by the opportunity to help deliver Dreamland and work with the local community and stakeholders to make sure the next, exciting phase of Margate's regeneration story unfolds successfully. This is all about fun, excitement and ensuring the local community is at the heart of Dreamland”.

Mike’s portfolio includes Managing Director at Apollo Resorts & Leisure Ltd, Managing Director Casinos and International Retail for Ladbrokes plc and Store Operations Director (Dixons) for DSG International Ltd with success in identifying and delivering effective long term regeneration strategies, event and operational planning, year round tourism provision and identifying specific challenges and solutions for sea side resort opportunities.

Chair of The Dreamland Trust, Nick Laister, said: "I am delighted to welcome Mike Nuttall to the Dreamland Trust. Mike brings a strong commercial focus to the project, which is really important at this stage as we move towards making a start on site. Mike's knowledge, energy and enthusiasm for tourism-based regeneration, particularly at seaside resorts, makes him the perfect man for the job and he joins us at a really exciting time for the project. Welcome on board the Dreamland roller coaster Mike!"

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Major article on Dreamland in the Isle of Thanet Gazette
Friday's Isle of Thanet Gazette features a major article on Dreamland following the announcement that the park will receive a £3m grant from Heritage Lottery Fund. The article covers the history of the campaign to save the park, features an interview with Dreamland Trust chair Nick Laister and contributions from Thanet District Council Leader Bob Bayford, Labour Leader Clive Hart and Littlehampton's Harbour Park Managing Director Gary Smart. View online...

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Resorts and Ports: New book features chapter on Dreamland
The book, Resorts and Ports: European Seaside Towns Since 1700, edited by Peter Borsay and John K. Walton, has just been published by Channel View. A chapter of the book, by Jason Wood, focuses mainly on Dreamland and the work of the Save Dreamland Campaign and Dreamland Trust. It covers the closing of the park, the development of plans for a heritage amusement park, the efforts of the Campaign in securing rides for the project and takes the reader through the various trials and tribulations faced by the project. Jason Wood is strongly supportive of the project, and offers a very interesting perspective on the project to reopen Dreamland as an amusement park of historic rides. Click here for more information on (currently offering a 19% discount).

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Minister for Tourism and Heritage congratulates Dreamland
On his blog, Minister for Tourism and Heritage John Penrose gives "a big cheer" for Dreamland on the news that it has received a grant of £3m from Heritage Lottery Fund. He describes the proposal as "a brilliant fusion of my departmental interests, and a worthy complement to the Turner Contemporary Gallery recently opened next door".

The news of Dreamland's success also now features on the Heritage Lottery Fund website, taking pride of place as its lead story.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Dreamland in the media
News of Dreamland's £3m Heritage Lottery funding has been well covered by the media. The two main terrestrial television channels covered the news on their regional news bulletins throughout the day, with Nick Laister appearing on BBC South East and Jan Leandro appearing on Meridian news.

The story is covered in the local press, including the Thanet Times, KMFM, YourThanet and Kent News. Nationally, the news was covered by The Guardian and BBC News. Attractions Management and Planning magazine also covered the news. The news has been reported and discussed across the internet, including Airgates, UK Park News, the Save Dreamland Forum and both the official Dreamland Margate and Save Dreamland Facebook pages.

In other news, Joyland Books has reduced the price of the Nick Evans book Dreamland Remembered: 90th Anniversary Edition from £15.99 to £11.99. Click here.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Heritage Lottery Fund awards £3m to Dreamland Margate
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a confirmed grant of £3 million towards the Dreamland Margate project, it was announced today.

The HLF grant is match funding to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Sea Change grant of £3.7m and Thanet District Council’s contribution of £4m.  The money will be used by the Dreamland Trust to restore Dreamland Margate and create a unique visitor attraction for the UK - the world’s first amusement park of historic rides with classic side shows, cafés, restaurants, special events, festivals and gardens and a celebration of our British seaside and popular culture with youth culture heritage at its heart.

Nick Laister, Chairman of The Dreamland Trust said; “The Dreamland Trust is delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded our project a substantial grant. This puts in place all the funding we now need to enable us to reopen Dreamland Margate and at the same time secure the future of its three remarkable listed structures, the Scenic Railway roller coaster, Dreamland Cinema and ‘Lord’ George Sanger’s Menagerie cages. These will form the centrepieces of the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides, which will open at Dreamland in summer 2013.

"On behalf of The Dreamland Trust I would like to thank our partners, Thanet District Council, our consultant team and, most of all, our supporters for sticking with us for so many years. Hold tight – we’re nearly there!”

Above: Chairman of The Dreamland Trust Nick Laister (left) with Leader of Thanet District Council Bob Bayford outside Dreamland Margate on the announcement that the Heritage Lottery Fund is awarding the project £3m.
The revival of Dreamland is a major component of Margate’s regeneration, providing a substantial visitor attraction which will generate at least 350,000 annual visits, along with valuable learning, training and employment opportunities.  The park will also have provision for a dedicated learning centre, exhibition space, community room, performance area, screenings, special events, festivals, and a sensory garden and allotment created by volunteers.

Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the South East, said: “This project has huge potential to entertain, intrigue, and delight. As Margate’s answer to an early Disneyland, the Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to award this substantial investment to Dreamland, and once restored to its former glory it will not only bring alive the historic rides of yesteryear but boost tourism too.”

Dreamland’s origins date back to the 1860s when the site, then known as the Hall by the Sea, was operated by the well-known caterers, Spiers and Pond.  In 1874 the famous circus showman, ‘Lord’ George Sanger took over the site introducing his menagerie of wild and exotic animals.  The site was later taken over by entrepreneur, John Henry Iles in 1919 who spent 20 years developing the site into Dreamland.  The park last operated in 2006 and since then has hosted a number of major events.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Bob Bayford, said: “We’re delighted with this news, especially as it completes the funding needed for the first stage of the project. Dreamland is a key site for Margate’s regeneration and that’s why the council has been working with the Dreamland Trust to bring it back into use. This year is turning out to be a major milestone for Margate’s regeneration, with the opening of Turner Contemporary and the hundreds of thousands of visitors they have bought to the town, the Queen’s visit and now this announcement from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Our next job is now to get the Compulsory Purchase Order confirmed, so that Margate can be home to a world first that will attract thousands more to the town.”

The HLF funding will be released once the Compulsory Purchase Order on the site has been confirmed and will allow for completion of Stage 1 of the first phase of the project involving the restoration of the Grade II* listed Scenic Railway to full working condition – including construction of a new Scenic Railway station to replace the original one destroyed by an arson attack in 2008, restoration of the historic rides collection and Grade II listed menagerie cages, repairs to the Grade II* listed Dreamland Cinema and reopening of the main park entrance along with landscaping works. 

The second phase of the project will be the installation of further rides and then the full restoration of the Cinema building, which is subject to funding. The partners are confident this grant award and emerging interest in the project will stimulate further investment in the Project.

Click here to see the new Dreamland Masterplan, which shows around 50% of the site used for rides, with the remainder used for parking and events. Rides and attractions are then likely to expand onto some of this additional land over the coming years. And click here to see an artist's impression of the newly designed Scenic Railway station.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Article on Dreamland Margate

The Planning Resource blog features an interesting article on Margate by Tim Stansfield, focussing largely on Dreamland and the proposed Tesco at Arlington. Click here to view...

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Kent on Saturday

Today's Kent on Saturday includes an article on the forthcoming Compulsory Purchase Order public inquiry. Click here to view...

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Dreamland sign

BBC Radio Kent featured a story on the Dreamland sign today. Jo Burns talked to the Dreamland Trust's Jan Leandro about the iconic sign on the cinema building fin. In case you missed it, the story is reported on the BBC News website.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Dreamland in the news

The Isle of Thanet Gazette on Friday reported that the covers are coming off the Dreamland Cinema tower and this will reveal the newly restored illuminated Dreamland signage. Read story...

Today's Thanet Times provides an update on the Dreamland Compulsory Purchase Order public inquiry, with quotes from Council Leader Bob Bayford and chairman of the Dreamland Trust Nick Laister. Read story... This news is also covered by Attractions Management and BBC News.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Dreamland sign going back up
Dreamland’s iconic signage is going back onto the Cinema building and will soon be lighting up Margate seafront again.

Under Thanet District Council’s urgent works notice it has been possible to restore the distinctive 1970s lighting scheme as a glowing invitation to the new Dreamland. The letters were removed and sent to a specialist company to be restored; this involved removing the yellow paint, polishing, re-wiring, painting the sides, replenishing the bulbs and on-ground testing. The letters are being remounted as the contractor’s work progresses down the fin, with each letter being individually tested in situ.

You can view photos of the work being carried out on the signs at the Save Dreamland Campaign Facebook page.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

October newsletter available for download
The October issue of the Dreamland Trust Newsletter is now available to download. This provides an update on work on the Dreamland Margate project by the Dreamland Trust. This has already been sent by email to all those who have signed up for the Campaign. If you would like to get a copy of the newsletter before it appears on this website, please join our mailing list.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

At the planning committee last night the application to build a Tesco on the Arlington site was referred to the next full council meeting, which is on 8 December.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Further objections to proposed Arlington development

The Dreamland Trust has written to Thanet District Council (letter dated 17 October 2011), objecting to the proposed redevelopment of the Arlington site. This is on the basis of misleading advice given to members by the Conservation Section in advance of tonight's committee meeting. View letter...

A further letter of objection has been submitted on behalf of a group of Arlington residents by planning solicitor Richard Buxton. View letter...

Friday, 14 October 2011

Dreamland Trust objects to proposed Arlington Tesco development
The Dreamland Trust has objected to the proposed Tesco development at Arlington based on the effect that the proposed supermarket will have on the setting of the recently upgraded Grade II* Scenic Railway and the other listed buildings on the site. There are also concerns about potential harm to the fabric of the listed animal cages and enclosure, which are fragile structures. In a letter dated 12 October 2011, Dreamland Trust chairman Nick Laister also criticises the report produced by heritage expert Dr Chris Miele. View the full letter here.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Dreamland Trust to object to proposed Arlington Tesco development
The Dreamland Trust will be objecting to the proposed plans to build a 7,565 square metre superstore on top of the existing multi-storey Arlington car park adjacent to Dreamland on the grounds of the impact the development will have on the setting of Dreamland site’s heritage assets.

The application is being reconsidered by Thanet District Council following the decision by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to upgrade the listing of the Scenic Railway from Grade II to Grade II*.

Dreamland Trust Chairman Nick Laister states: “We have reviewed the expert report produced for Thanet District Council, which was funded by the developer, and this seems to largely rely on the fact that the setting of the Scenic Railway is already degraded. It fails to recognise that the park is to be rebuilt and that English Heritage has been closely involved in this project so was fully aware of it when advising that the listing of the Scenic Railway should be upgraded. We believe that this work needs to be reviewed in the knowledge that the setting of the Scenic Railway is not lost and is likely to be seriously undermined by this development.”

Sunday, 2 October 2011

September newsletter available for download
The September issue of the Dreamland Trust Newsletter is now available to download. This provides an update on work on the Dreamland Margate project by the Dreamland Trust. This has already been sent by email to all those who have signed up for the Campaign. If you would like to get a copy of the newsletter before it appears on this website, please join our mailing list.

Dreamland is mentioned in a BBC News report into Oscar-winning Hollywood filmmaker Arnold Schwartzman's return to his home town of Margate to make a documentary.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Find Dreamland Margate on Facebook
You can now find The Dreamland Trust on Facebook with the launch of the official Dreamland Margate Facebook page:

You can also follow Dreamland on Twitter. And don't forget the Dreamland Forum for lively discussion on the future of the park and the Save Dreamland Campaign's Facebook page.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

New book on the demise of Rotunda Amusement Park, Folkestone
A new book has been released on the demise of Dreamland's sister amusement park in Folkestone, the Rotunda Amusement Park, which was also owned by Jimmy Godden. The Rotunda Amusement Park, Folkestone, is one of a number of seaside amusement parks - see also Frontierland in Morecambe, Pleasureland in Southport and Spanish City in Whitley Bay - that have sadly closed in recent years. When the local history writing partnership of Martin Easdown and Linda Sage - authors of Mr Warwick's Revolving Towers - began in 1996, the Rotunda was one of Folkestone's seaside attractions that they were particularly interested in and they took a number of photographs in 1998 and 2002. The site of the Rotunda has now been levelled in preparation for residential and leisure development. The authors hope that the new limited edition book of only 69 copies, The Demise of the Rotunda Amusement Park, will serve as a record of its final years. More...

Saturday, 10 September 2011

English Heritage to visit Dreamland
As the controversy over the proposed Tesco store on the Arlington site rages on, the Isle of Thanet Gazette reports on the visit to Dreamland of English Heritage inspectors. English Heritage will be considering whether the proposed store will harm the setting of the Scenic Railway following its upgrade to Grade II* status.

Click on the above image to enlarge.
The Council had resolved to grant permission for the redevelopment, but the upgrading of the Scenic to Grade II* prior to the decision being issued has resulted in the council agreeing to reconsider the application (following a threat of legal action by a solicitor instructed by objectors if they did not).

The artist's impression to the right (click the photo to enlarge) shows how the proposed store will affect the setting of the Scenic Railway. If you would like to comment on this planning application, you can do so here.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

A major article on Margate, which features Dreamland as its central focus, appeared in the Times on 4 August. The article can be viewed here.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Scenic Railway listing upgraded to II*
The listing for the Scenic Railway has been upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*. First announced on the Save Dreamland Campaign Forum last week, it has now started to be picked up by the media.

Dreamland Trust Chairman, Nick Laister, has made the following statement to the media: "It is wonderful news that the Scenic Railway listing has been upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*. The Scenic Railway was listed Grade II in March 2002, and this amendment to its status is an entirely appropriate recognition for this rare and vulnerable structure, coincidentally coming exactly 10 years after I first wrote to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in July 2001 asking them to consider listing the ride.

Part of the remains of the Scenic Railway. Photo: Nick Laister
"It puts the Scenic Railway into the top 6% most important listed buildings in the country. This is a great springboard for the restoration works that will be starting on the ride over the coming months."

The news has been covered by BBC News, Kent Online, Kent News and GoUK. There are also online discussions about the news at CoasterForce and RCCGB. The full press release from Thanet District Council is here and the release from English Heritage is here.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

YourThanet features a report on repair work starting on the Dreamland Cinema. Click here to download this report. With thanks to Dave Collard.

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