Friday, 14 May 2010


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.

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