Friday, January 20, 2006

Dream On

Reader David Chamberlain has a point to make about Dreamland and its future, inviting Thanet Life readers to comment and pointing out that: “Dreamland will have its future decided by Thanet Council this week.”

It has been reported in the local paper, he says, “That Toby Hunter chairman of the Margate Town Centre Development Company has stated that nothing will be decided until after a public consultation in April. Hold on, when is a decision being made, Thursday the 17th or after the public consultation in April?

“Margate Town Centre Development Company, the report states has ‘no firm plans for the site’. From what I see not only has Margate Town Centre Development Company not got any firm plans for the site, it has no plans at all apart from attracting some interest from operators to run Dreamland for the next three years and that the Fun Park will reopen this summer.”

“Last summer Dreamland was not exactly overrun with visitors and quite frankly it looks pathetic! The company we are told is also advertising in the World’s fair trade magazine to find someone to run the park. I can’t even find a website for this journal. The other plans mentioned are for a green park around the scenic railway as a central feature to provide a high quality amenity area. Whilst on the subject of the scenic railway, a protected structure, why can’t this be dismantled and moved elsewhere if its position is a problem as has been suggested in the past? It doesn’t have to be destroyed.”

“Other ideas the local authority may allow so we are told are for a convenience store, shops, some residential use and a road. The onus will be on any developer to show that an amusement park will not be viable or appropriate. Now it is not too difficult to produce a report showing that an amusement park is appropriate one way or the other? A simple play on words is enough. You may be surprised to learn that in my opinion Amusement parks like Dreamland have had their day, unlike their modern high-tech off-spring, Alton Towers, Chessington or Thorpe Park. However why not look at the following ideas:”

  1. Water park as per Schlitterbahn water parks, or Alton Towers water parks

  2. Visual Audio experience as at Futurscope in Poitiers, France,

  3. Sealife centre and aquarium as in Blackpool. (The last two great for rainy days)

  4. A huge hotel with lifestyle coaching, sport & fitness, casino, cinema, restaurant and theatre (on the scale of a hotel in Vegas) that will attract the Nouveau Rich, especially with links to three good local golf courses, Manston Airport and local ferries on the south coast.
“Nope, seems we’ll end up with convenience store, shops, some residential use and a road. I can only conclude that Margate Town Centre Development Company has no firm plans and therefore no credibility. Thanet District Council appears to lack imagination. Isn’t it time a firm of Venture Capitalists were bought in to make Margate Town Centre Development Company a reasonable offer for the Dreamland site and actually attract some serious business and money to this town. What I see at present is pathetic and very amateurish.”


Anonymous said...

My idea would be to turn the site into a seaside heritage centre, with all the best attractions from the past glory days of the British seaside holiday, with the scenic railway as the centrepiece. As far as I know nothing like this currently exists.

Not only would that attract middle class day trippers, but also educational trips. And, if it was done well, in a top-notch, modern, 'heritage' kind of way, it should attract business conferences, etc. too.

There are many places up and down the country making money out of flimsier heritage excuses than this. This way we get to regenerate the site, and keep some of the flavour and tradition of the old Margate for generations to come.

Anonymous said...

For the grandly named Margate Town Centre Development Company substitute J G and his cohorts therein lies the problem

Anonymous said...

Let us have compulsory purchase please! A brief chat with any of the town's taxi drivers will tell you what a disastrous summer season 2005 was. Add now the impact of Westwood Cross and Margate Summer Season 2006 will be far worse. I notice that the restoration of the terrace frontage in Marine Terrace has not ocurred despite the fuss that went on a few years ago to maintain the appearance of the Georgian Terrace when the hideous 'Pink Flamingo' was set up. What a convenient access gap appears to have resulted from yet a further mishap to one of Mr Godden's properties! If the importance of the original terrace frontage caused a nightmare for the 'Pink Flamingo' why has JG not been required to reinstate it? I am reminded of a letter to The Gazette by a retired Wing Commander RAF a little while ago that suggested that Germany give JG an iron cross as he appeared to have caused more damage to East Kent than the Luftwaffe did 60 years ago.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the options from the original post. Any of those would be an attraction bringing in families visiting Margate. The last thing we really need are more shops and houses, and I don't think that the Turner Contemporary is going to attract visitors in the thousands. We really need some kind of attraction that will be available 24/7 AND all year round - and I'm afraid an amusement park doesn't fit that bill. TDC definitely need someone with some pragmatic vision