Friday, 8 May 2009


Thanet district Council press release

A funding bid to help create the world’s first amusement park of historic rides in Margate has been submitted to the Sea Change fund.

The ground-breaking project brings together the Margate Renewal Partnership, The Dreamland Trust (Save Dreamland Campaign), site owners the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company and Thanet District Council, who submitted the application. The feasibility work to develop the bid was also supported by Kent County Council, SEEDA, English Heritage and the Arts Council England.

The bid is for phase one of the project, which aims to create a thrilling theme park from the past on the Dreamland site, focusing on preserving, interpreting and giving people the chance to enjoy spectacular historic amusement park rides. Many of these rides, which have been rescued from amusement parks across the UK over the past few years, are now the last surviving examples of their type. Some of the money would be used to help restore them to full working order. The centrepiece of the park will be the Scenic Railway, fully restored and operational. It is the UK’s oldest surviving wooden roller coaster, and fourth oldest in the world and is a grade II listed structure.

If the bid is successful, Phase 1 would also include the initial stages of the restoration of the grade II* listed Dreamland cinema building.

The park will create considerable employment opportunities and the supporting business plan estimates that it will attract around 700,000 visits each year, of which about half would pay to go on one or more rides. Importantly though, the public will be able to enter the park and landscaped gardens free of charge with wristbands being sold for those who want to enjoy the rides.

Chief Executive of Thanet District Council, Richard Samuel, said: “Dreamland is an absolutely key site for Margate and regenerating it is vital for the town’s future. This bid is exceptionally strong, setting out a unique proposal for the site that would help to put Margate back on the map again. If this application is successful, then we will be able to start work on a second major visitor attraction to complement the work already underway on Turner Contemporary. I know everyone involved in this bid, including the Save Dreamland Campaign and the site owners, believes this bid has an excellent chance of success and we look forward to being able to take this unique idea forward.”

Chair of The Dreamland Trust, Nick Laister, said: “We are absolutely delighted at the extent to which residents, businesses and key stakeholders in the area have backed this project, which we believe will create a genuinely compelling new visitor attraction at Dreamland Margate. I think this shared vision comes across in the bid and puts us in a very strong position in what I know is going to be a very competitive process. The Dreamland Trust strongly believes that this is the best way to secure the future of the listed Scenic Railway and Dreamland Cinema and for the distinguished history of the park to be recognised and a successful outcome to this bid will enable this shared vision to be implemented. We look forward to taking a central role in the project’s implementation.”

Peter Beck, Construction Manager at MTCRC, said: "We at MTCRC are fully supportive of the proposals for the amusement park and the cinema complex and would like to take the opportunity to thank the team for the dedication and hard work that has created this unique opportunity. We look forward to continuing our work with the team and assisting, where possible, to secure funding and the implementation of the proposals. This is an important scheme both for Margate and our cultural heritage."

The Sea Change programme aims to place culture at the heart of regenerating England’s seaside resorts by investing in arts, public space, cultural assets and heritage projects. It is run by CABE, the government’s advisor on architecture, urban design and public space. A decision on whether the bid has been successful is expected in July.
Ed. Click here for more information.


  1. This is very good news.

  2. yes Indeed!This is wonderful news

  3. JH and Lily I will produce a reprint of the program to the original opening of the cinema in 1935 by way of celebration.

  4. Surely both Dreamland Park and the Cinema have been proven by entrepreneurs to be unviable and just not a commercial possibility anymore. So - here is another white elephant for the poor old ratepayers to fund

  5. I am sorry to rain on people's parades here but get real please.

    This site was designated the key to Margate's regeneration by an Independent Planning Inspector and his advice and warnings about what might happen to it were ignored. TDC made the wrong decision in allowing a mix of residential deevlopment on this site with 51% of the site being retained for a 'visitor attraction'.

    I am hardly surprised that an MTCRC 'bod' is saying what a wonderful opportunity! This key site to Margate's prosperity has been rundown since 2003 and has now effectively been derelict for 2years as The Planning Inspector predicted. TDC's erroneous decision doubled the value of this site for Godden, Waterbridge et al who now expect the Prince's Trust, Lottery and a whizzo Govt scheme of tax-payers money to come forward and pay for a sad and unnatractive 'Heritage Amusement Park'. Where is the sanity and commonsense in all of this?

  6. There is also a strong case for Ramsgate within that bid system. lets hope TDC supports Ramsgates bid?


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