Judge Sycamore comprehensively dismissed a legal challenge over the decision to grant the council ownership of the site.
The council originally received approval from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for the compulsory purchase of the site in August 2012. Current owners, Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, then launched an appeal which challenged this decision.
Following the successful High Court ruling, the council will now work to secure title to the land, which it must acquire before access to the site can be granted and work can proceed.
Once title is secured, a funding package will open up to help deliver the project.
The council is working in partnership with The Dreamland Trust to regenerate the site to create the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides, classic side shows, vintage cafés, restaurants and gardens.
The project will also celebrate the British seaside and popular culture. It is a major part of Margate’s regeneration programme, creating volunteer, learning, training and employment opportunities for the local community.
Thanet District Council Chief Executive, Sue McGonigal, said: “Today’s ruling from the High Court comes as very welcome news. We now have a clear mandate to progress with our plans to deliver a brand new and unique visitor attraction for the South East. With overwhelming public support, and the vital funds in place, there has been no doubt about our commitment to see this project through.
Getting to this point has certainly been frustrating, especially with the site left vacant and unused for a significant amount of time. Our focus now will be to progress with plans to dramatically regenerate Dreamland and I look forward to seeing the potential benefits this will bring to Margate.”
Chairman of The Dreamland Trust, Nick Laister, said: “The Dreamland Trust was confident that the
Secretary of State had made the right decision for the future of the Dreamland Margate site and we are delighted that this decision has been found to be a sound one. The residents and businesses of Thanet have waited too long to see this important tourism site come back to life, and this decision means that we should be able to finally make a start. We look forward to working with our partners Thanet District Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund in implementing the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides.”
The Dreamland Trust is working in partnership with Thanet District Council (TDC) to create the world’s first amusement park of thrilling historic rides, classic side shows, vintage cafés, restaurants and gardens with special events and festivals and to celebrate this important part of our popular and youth culture heritage.
The Dreamland Trust emerged from the Save Dreamland Campaign to rescue the park and its heritage assets including:
• The 1920 Scenic Railway - the UK’s oldest roller coaster and a Grade II* listed structure.
• The 1935 2,200 seat Grade II* listed cinema building - a super-cinema forerunner.
• Lord George Sanger’s Grade II-listed menagerie cages dating back to the 1800s - believed to be the last remaining type of their kind.
Dreamland’s description is an ‘amusement park of thrilling historic rides’ – it is not a fairground, fun fair, fun park, theme park or heritage park.
The Dreamland Margate project has grown out of a vigorous and widely supported community campaign to save the site from redevelopment into housing and retail units.
The Dreamland Margate project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Sea Change programme and TDC.
TDC served a compulsory purchase order on the Dreamland site owners on 3 June 2011, which went to Public Inquiry in January 2012.