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 Post subject: Dreamland Margate reopening 19th June 2015
New postPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:49 pm 
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Location: Manchester, UK

The famous Dreamland Amusement Park in Margate will reopen on 19th June 2015 following a 12-year campaign to save the attraction, which is the oldest surviving amusement park in the UK. The Dreamland Trust is the organisation that originated the project, secured funding and managed its delivery.

Nick Laister, chairman of the Trust, and Susan Marsh, secretary of the Trust, will both be in Margate for the preview day on 14th June and on the opening day on 19th June - details below. They will be available for interview prior to this date by arrangement (contact details below).

Nick says: "It is now 12 years since I first set up the Save Dreamland Campaign. The reopening of the park on 19th June will be an incredible day for me and the hundreds of campaigners who have worked tirelessly to make this happen."

Nick, who first got involved with Dreamland in 2001 when he successfully asked the UK Government to give listed building status to the Scenic Railway roller coaster, adds:

"The idea for rebuilding Dreamland as an attraction that celebrates amusement park and seaside history and culture was something that we came up with in 2007. It seemed so right to rescue rides that were being destroyed in amusement park redevelopments, at the height of the property bubble and rebuild them alongside the Scenic Railway in a vibrant new visitor attraction at Dreamland. "

Susan takes up the story:

"We decided that campaigning alone wasn't enough. There needed to be an organisation that could actually involve itself in driving forward plans to reopen Dreamland, by going out there and securing funding for the project. We needed to bring to life the hopes and aspirations of the many volunteers and thousands of supporters, locally, nationally and even internationally."

The Dreamland Trust was born towards the end of 2007, with some very hardworking directors coming on board who then set about persuading numerous organisations around the UK that Dreamland was a cause worth supporting. Nick says:

"With organisations such as English Heritage and the Arts Council behind us, we were able to apply for money from Heritage Lottery and the Government. We successfully secured several million pounds from Heritage Lottery Fund and we eventually managed to get the project budget up to £18m."

With the money in place, The Dreamland Trust began to develop the layout, look and feel of the park. But there were major setbacks. Susan says:

"The Scenic Railway fire of 2008 was a major blow to the project. Not only was 25% of the structure of the listed roller coaster destroyed, the station and workshops were also lost, including all the original wooden trains with their distinctive carved dragon's heads. But in an unexpected way, it gave the project traction as everybody realised that if things did not happen quickly Dreamland would be lost forever. The project really took off."

From that day the project gained momentum, and with millions of pounds of funding in place a team of designers, engineers and amusement ride specialists came on board and, under the Dreamland Trust's leadership, the project that we see today started to take shape.

Susan adds: "We appointed a team of top consultants, architects and designers. For example, we appointed Wayne Hemingway as a consultant to create the Dreamland branding. We stated that we did not want a heritage amusement park - the term was actually banned! We wanted a mix of rides from all eras, events, festivals, food and numerous supporting attractions, all presented in a non-ironic way. The team brilliantly embraced our vision."

Nick explains that recently a local company has been appointed to operate the park:

"The Dreamland Trust and its partner Thanet District Council have now selected a local company, Sands Heritage Ltd, who will be responsible for operating Dreamland when it reopens in a few days. Preparations are underway for the big opening event on 19th June."

Nick says: "In a town that has already seen positive change following the very successful opening of Turner Contemporary, Dreamland will be another major leap forward. It will bring hundreds of thousands of tourists to Margate, will create hundreds of jobs and opportunities for local companies. Margate is a resort that is finding its way back into the hearts of people up and down the country; it is an exciting place to be."

The opening of the park will be a significant personal moment for Nick:

"To see the park open and people enjoying themselves on the rides and attractions will be quite an emotional experience for me. Dreamland has been such a massive part of my life this past 12 years. I am sure that it is going to be a great success."


Information for Editors

Nick Laister and Susan Marsh are available for interview.

Email nick@dreamlandmargate.com or telephone 07778 207036 to organise an interview with Nick. Email susan@s-marsh.co.uk or telephone 07803 727048 to organise an interview with Susan.

Both Nick and Susan will be at the Private Preview event in Dreamland on 14th June from 4pm to 8pm and at the press launch in Margate on 19th June from 8.30am.

The Save Dreamland Campaign was set up in January 2003 and speaks on behalf of several thousand people. www.savedreamland.co.uk.

The Dreamland Trust was set up to deliver a revived Dreamland and ensure that the park’s contribution to the regeneration of Margate can be realised. www.dreamlandtrust.org.uk

Details of the new Dreamland Margate can be found at the park's new website: www.dreamland.co.uk

The Trust, working in partnership with Thanet District Council, has secured a funding package of £18 million, which includes external funding from The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Sea Change grant, and match funding from the Council itself, to deliver the first phase of the project.

The Dreamland site is owned by Thanet District Council following successful compulsory purchase.

The Dreamland project plays a significant role in community engagement, education, training, sustainable employment and boosting the local economy. It is also a major component in the continued regeneration of Margate, spearheaded by Turner Contemporary in 2011.

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