Tuesday, July 06, 2010

What's happening – Dreamland and the scenic railway

Yes I know that some heritage groupies, are seeking vast amounts of money, to launch the world's first and probably last Heritage theme park (museum to you and I), anyhow as I cycled around Margate yesterday my eye caught that view of the now derelict site, which was briefly the centre of attention, more than two years ago in 2008 when the Scenic Railway, mysteriously caught fire, having spoken to one of the owners when Waterbridge who I understand have since gone belly up were doing all that PR stuff, I know just how upset they must have been.

Regulars will recall my youtube video, made as the embers of the scenic railway were being dowsed, I mentioned the likelihood that many a crocodile tear would be shed, and it seems time has possibly proven me right, for this reason, I have always thought that there would be some obligation of the then owners to rebuild the scenic railway, and yet not so much as a matchstick (excuse the reference I was trying to think of something insignificant and wooden) has been so far forthcoming.

Anyway the plan was that the £12 million Heritage (Yawn) Park,  would be financed with a £3.8 mill govt. grant (lets hope it's not a post dated cheque), £3 mill from gamblers anonymous (Heritage Lottery fund), £4 mill from site owners and rest coming out of your pocket (local councils).

However things change and the last update I heard was this, from  Richard Samuel TDC's Chief Exec with this old chestnut "economic conditions meant the site's owners would no longer…. blah, blah yeah righteo Richard, about next months council tax, "economic conditions …..   you just know TDC would be sending the bailiffs round in short order. (This country still sends people to jail for not being able to pay council tax (13 years of Labour) ).  Sometime soon the owners are due to divvy up with the land around the scenic railway and the cinema rather than folding stuff..

I just hope that the Dreamland thing happens it would have been nice if the project was for a contemporary park theme, and as a PS its worth noting that Dreamland is still a brand that is recognised throughout the country, which is why when it was controlled by earlier imaginative people it was capable of attracting 2 million a year.

It probably seems ungrateful to those who are behind the park's current project, its just as someone who lives here I'd like the best for this area, I'm sure many Thanetians have visited Thorpe Park, Chessington, Blackpools Pleasure Beach and Alton Towers not I'm sure who goes just to see some prehistoric Wurlitzer but what do I know, anyhow by the time this happens this grandad will  need a parking bay for the Zimmer and somewhere quiet to sit.

Even local news these days is omnipresent Yourthanet Tom Betts Twitter feed being one of the most reliable I spotted a mention from him that a donation of $5000. from American enthusiasts (God Bless America) has just been given toward sorting out the scenic railway.


  1. If we are going to attract visitors to the town we need to be original. A heritage theme park could do it but surely something more dynamic like Futurscope in Potiers (France).
    However it could be under water in 25 years so why not take the line of least resistance and flood it as a marina, it is below sea level. You may even include a sea life centre. We do live by the coast don't we?

  2. It could just work and certainly better than the Godden waste land

  3. I have heard story after story about dreamland, but nothing is being done about, and now i have started to lose faith!
    Dreamland (to me) looks like it will never be back up and running.
    I would love to be 100% behind this but i just dont see it happening. we talk about it all the time, we go and see what was behind the metal raillings, but people are not doing anything about it. I would love to do somthing, I would fight for it, be outside there office everyday i needed just to get there arse moving but no1 seams to wanna do it.
    Please people we can really make a difference if we stand up and fight instead of just talking and seeing fancy powerpoints.

  4. I was just googling Dreamland (I think it about it often) out of curiosity when I came across this discussion, I am a 25yr old from Chatham and when I was a child margate was the best place to come during weekends and holidays,as it was affordable and only a train ride away, I am sorry to say I have not been back since the park closed as there wasn't much else to do (not much beach weather in this country). My friends and I always talk about how good the park was and that if it reopened we would all travel down with our children often, it is such a shame that the owners havn't clocked on to this fact as i am 100% sure we are not the only ones who miss it, business would be booming and it would definately put Margate back at the top of tourst attractions, surely this is what Margate council want, to me this is a no brainer.
    A Sealife centre also on site is a brilliant idea Chessington/Alton towers now both have one, the park itself should be a mixture of modern and historical rides for all ages so as to keep the park exciting so visitors return again and again.
    I feel councils do not listen to the younger generation enough, I would love to be involved in resurrecting this once amazing park, but where do you start, a petition maybe,rich businesses need to sponsor the site or invest it would definately bring in profit as once before, Dreamland NEEDS to come back......