PRESS RELEASE 10 February 2003

Only Fools and Horses Star Joins Campaign to Save Historic Fun Park

'Trigger' from Only Fools and Horses joins the campaign to save Dreamland Fun Park (Margate, UK) and its Grade II listed roller coaster, the Scenic Railway, which is threatened with redevelopment. Actor Roger Lloyd Pack, who has been one of the main characters in the long-running BBC television series for over 20 years, has offered his complete support to the campaign. Roger says:

"I support the campaign to save Dreamland unequivocally. An amusement park is far more important to Margate than another development or hotel. The needs of Margate should be respected more than filling the pockets of a greedy developer."

The 1989 Only Fools and Horses Christmas Special, 'Jolly Boy's Outing', was filmed in Margate and featured extensive footage of the cast enjoying Dreamland's attractions.

Campaign leader Nick Laister said today: "It is great to have someone as popular and high profile as Roger on board with the Campaign. Roger's message to Margate's decision makers is a clear one, and I hope this will help to drive the message home. After all, both the adopted and emerging local plans say exactly the same thing. This is a message we will be discussing with council leaders over the coming weeks. "

The Campaign has been launched to save the Dreamland Pleasure Park, Margate, home of the UK’s oldest roller coaster, the 83-year-old listed Scenic Railway. Dreamland’s owner proposes to replace the park with a supermarket, shops and casino. The Campaign is led by planning expert Nick Laister, a leading authority on the UK theme park industry, planning consultant and editor of, the specialist amusement park bookstore. The Campaign is now speaking on behalf of over 12,000 people, including local residents, businesses and organisations such as the Margate Historical Society, European Coaster Club, Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain and SAVE Britain’s Heritage.

This week the Campaign launched its local headquarters in Margate, headed by Local Campaign Coordinator Sarah Vickery. Sarah owns the Grade I listed Shell Grotto in Margate, a popular tourist attraction with shop, museum and café attached. She is Vice-Chair of the Isle of Thanet Tourism Association, Chair of the Thanet Contemporary Arts Festival and a member of the Margate Events Group. Before taking over the Grotto, she was a journalist specialising in arts and travel.

Commenting this week on the Council’s plan to launch a public consultation to find a replacement use for the Dreamland site, Nick Laister said:

"What is important here is Margate's future as a seaside resort, and the retention of its most famous attraction. Clear planning policies have been drafted to ensure that Dreamland survives for the benefit of the town. The Local Plan states that redevelopment of Dreamland will not be permitted, and the site is home to a completely unique historic ride, which is protected by its statutory listing. One man should not be allowed to dictate a town's future, nor should his decisions be allowed to destroy a structure of such rarity and historic value. What does matter here are the views of the thousands of people who support this campaign, both locally and nationally, who know that the redevelopment of Dreamland will mean the end for Margate as a seaside resort. It is therefore important that the forthcoming public consultation is based on proper planning objectives in the development plan and national planning policy guidance.

“I say this to Thanet District Council: Don't throw away all the work you have done on your Local Plan. Don't throw away your town's history. And, most importantly of all, don't throw away your town's prosperity."

Nick Laister and Sarah Vickery will be meeting with North Thanet MP Roger Gale on 18th February 2003 to discuss the Campaign’s own proposals for the future of the park 

To find out more about the Save Dreamland Campaign visit the campaign website at

For further information, or to organise interviews, please contact Nick Laister on 01235 838214 (day), 07778 207036 (mobile) or 01235 762186 (evenings) or Sarah Vickery on 01843 220008.


Information for Editors

The official campaign website is The campaign can be emailed at The address for all correspondence is Save Dreamland Campaign, The Shell Grotto, Grotto Hill, Margate, Kent CT9 2BU.

Over 120 wooden roller coasters, the centrepiece of most amusement parks in the 20th Century, were built between 1885 and 1960. Only nine now survive.

Only two 'Scenic Railway' roller coasters now survive, and the Scenic Railway at Dreamland is the only one surviving intact. The removal of this ride would almost completely wipe out this important part of British amusement park heritage.

The other surviving scenic railway is at the Pleasure Beach, Great Yarmouth, and was built in 1932.

The Scenic Railway at Dreamland is the oldest surviving roller coaster in the United Kingdom. Its age and rarity were major factors in support of its listing.

The report submitted to English Heritage, which resulted in the Scenic Railway becoming a listed building, can be downloaded for free from

When a structure is listed it is placed on a statutory list of buildings of 'special architectural or historic interest' compiled by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Listing ensures that the architectural and historic interest of a building is carefully considered before any alterations are agreed. There are currently over 37,000 buildings and other structures protected by listing status. For more information on listed buildings, visit the English Heritage website on

Nick Laister BA (Hons) DipTP MRTPI MIHT is a leading authority on the UK theme park industry. He is a Chartered Town Planner and Technical Director with the RPS Group plc, and specialises in planning for tourism and leisure. He has been involved in a number of listed buildings and conservation cases, and has appeared as expert witness at several public inquiries and hearings. He has written articles for a number of newspapers and journals and has been invited to speak at conferences on the subject of planning for tourism and leisure. He is regularly interviewed on television and radio on the same subject. He is co-owner of Skelter Publishing LLP and editor of the web site  Click here to email Nick Laister.

Sarah Vickery owns and runs the Grade 1 listed Shell Grotto in Margate, a popular tourist attraction with shop, museum and cafe attached. She is Vice-Chair of the Isle of Thanet Tourism Association, Chair of the Thanet Contemporary Arts Festival and a member of the Margate Events Group. She moved to Margate with her family in 2001 to take over the Grotto which she has known and loved since childhood. Before this Sarah was a journalist specialising in arts and travel, writing for a range of magazines and newspapers and editing books. Click here to email Sarah Vickery.

Dreamland Fun Park is located at Belgrave Road, Margate. The telephone number is 01843 227011.

The contact number for English Heritage is 0870 333 1181.

Further reading about amusement park and fairground history can be found at the specialist online bookstore Regular articles on the subject appear monthly on the fairground preservation website


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