Thursday, February 23, 2006

New Fears Over Dreamland Future

The BBC reports that campaigners fighting to save Dreamland have raised fears that the site could still be re-developed.

Thanet council published a local plan this month and is running consultation until 31st March.

The Save Dreamland Campaign has said the plan still allows redevelopment while they want that option to end.

The council has said the intention is for the site to remain an amusement park unless it proves not to be viable.

Sarah Vickery, from the Save Dreamland Campaign, said: "The fact that they haven't closed the door on redevelopment is our primary concern.

"They have said the Scenic Railway must be protected which we are really happy about.

"But they have said if the redevelopers can prove an amusement park is not viable on the site then they will be allowed to develop the site."

In January, Councillor John Kirby, cabinet member for development services, said: "The intention is that it will remain an amusement park but with leisure facilities that will complement those in place now.

"If it can be proved that an amusement park will not be viable, then we have to look at other ways to get the best from this site.

"If we get a leisure developer coming forward who can guarantee its use 365 days a year, that's what we're looking for."

Ed: You'll find a dedicated comment thread on the present and future of Dreamland here.

7 comments:

James Maskell said...

Cllr John Kirby's absolutely right. I was at the Extraordinary Council meeting recently and read the three options available for insertion on the Draft Local Plan (they can be read off the Council website if anyone is interested). Labour chose the option of it having to be a theme park and all other options resisted. The Conservatives wisely picked the option of having priority for a theme park but also keeping the option open for other development of the site.

Thanet is not the same place it was back say ten years ago. Things do change. I would like Dreamland to be the theme park it once was. I loved Dreamland. It made my summers when I was younger. But I also recognise that it may not be possible to do that. I think its logical and sensible to keep the options open to other forms of development to attract tourism to Thanet.

Anonymous said...

Of course it will be developed, any patch of land bigger than a hanky is having a house or flats built on it at the moment in Thanet.
By the way TDC got £200,000 last week at auction for the little public car park in Harold Road Cliftonville after they granted themselves planning permission to grossly overdevelop the site with a number of small flats.
My prediction is that the Scenic Railway will become unusable and the cranes will move in before a year is up.

James Maskell said...

For the benefit of those who feel Dreamland is to become a housing estate (Im sure there are a large number of you here), here is the text accepted at the Extraordinary Council meeting in relation to the Dreamland site. Its sensible and accepts that an amusement park may not be the only option avalable or possible for that matter. Note the penultimate paragraph about the Scenic Railway.

POLICY T11

1 PROPOSALS THAT SEEK TO EXTEND, UPGRADE OR IMPROVE THE
ATTRACTIVENESS OF DREAMLAND AS AN AMUSEMENT PARK WILL BE PERMITTED. DEVELOPMENT THAT WOULD LEAD TO A REDUCTION IN THE ATTRACTIVENESS, LEISURE OR TOURIST POTENTIAL WILL BE RESISTED.

EXCEPTIONALLY, DEVELOPMENT OF A LIMITED PART OF THE SITE MAY BE ACCEPTED AS A PART OF A COMPREHENSIVE SCHEME FOR
THE UPGRADING AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE AMUSEMENT PARK.
THE SCHEME WILL BE REQUIRED TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE
FUTURE VIABILITY OF THE AMUSEMENT PARK CAN BE ASSURED AND THE COUNCIL WILL NEGOTIATE A LEGAL AGREEMENT TO ENSURE THAT THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AND THE AGREED INVESTMENT IN THE AMUSEMENT PARK ARE CARRIED OUT IN PARALLEL.

2 IN THE EVENT THAT EVIDENCE, IN THE FORM OF AN INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL ASSESSMENT, IS SUBMITTED (AND ACCEPTED BY THE COUNCIL) AS DEMONSTRATING THAT IT IS NOT ECONOMICALLY VIABLE TO OPERATE AN AMUSEMENT PARK ON THE WHOLE OR MAJORITY OF THE SITE IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE, THEN PROPOSALS FOR REDEVELOPMENT MAY BE ACCEPTED SUBJECT TO: -

(i) PROPOSALS DEMONSTRATING THAT SUCH REDEVELOPMENT WOULD SUSTAINABLY CONTRIBUTE TO THE ECONOMIC WELL-BEING AND REJUVENATION OF MARGATE, AND BEING SUPPORTED BY A BUSINESS PLAN DEMONSTRATING THAT SUCH PROPOSALS ARE ECONOMICALLY VIABLE;

(ii) THE PREDOMINANT USE OF THE SITE BEING FOR LEISURE PURPOSES. (AN ELEMENT OF MIXED RESIDENTIAL WOULD BE APPROPRIATE BUT ONLY OF SUCH A SCALE NEEDED TO SUPPORT DELIVERY OF THE COMPREHENSIVE VISION FOR THE SITE);

(iii) COMPATIBILITY WITH THE CONTEXT AND PROPOSALS OF THE STRATEGIC URBAN DESIGN FRAMEWORK, AND INTEGRATION WITH APPROPRIATE PROPOSALS FOR REDEVELOPMENT /REFURBISHMENT OF NEIGHBOURING SITES;

(iv) PROPOSALS DELIVERING A NEW ROAD ALONG THE SOUTHERN SITE BOUNDARY TO ENABLE THE DIVERSION OF VEHICULAR TRAFFIC FROM MARINE TERRACE. (A LEGAL AGREEMENT WILL BE REQUIRED TO ENSURE THAT A PROPORTIONATE CONTRIBUTION WILL BE MADE TOWARDS THE COST OF PROVIDING THE NEW ROAD AND TO APPROPRIATE IMPROVEMENTS TO CREATE A PEDESTRIAN PRIORITY ENVIRONMENT ALONG MARINE TERRACE);

(v) RETENTION OF THE SCENIC RAILWAY IN SITU AS AN OPERATING FEATURE WITHIN A GREEN PARK SETTING APPROPRIATE TO ITS CHARACTER AS A LISTED BUILDING;

AND

(vi) PROPOSALS BEING ACCOMPANIED BY A TRAFFIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT.

Anonymous said...

I spoke to people who used to work at the park. Back in the 70's, 80's and early 90's the scenic railway was maintained to the highest standards, it was regularly coated in highly specialist expensive all weather paint for old wood. The park was looked after by a highly skilled team of carpenters and maintenance men with years of experience. When it changed hands this policy was scraped and any old muck was thrown on it, this will shorten its life considerably... All those people who really cared about the place were sacked or left as they saw what was happening and could do nothing about it...

Anonymous said...

Anybody who thinks Dreamland will not be developed and that the scenic railway will stay are themselves living in Dreamland

J G will have his way or it will stay derilect.
The artickle in this weeks local surgesting that he has little or no say in the futher developement is nonsence

OLD codger said...

If ever there was a case for compulsory purchase- this has got to be it. This site is fundamental to any regeneration of Margate. The TC fiasco is a sideline of passing insignificance in comparison. Sort out the Dreamland site as a serious SE England seaside and tourist puller ALL YEAR ROUND and you have solved poor old Margates problems. Has anyone out there got the balls to get a grip or do we allow a man who seems very unlucky in regard to his properties burning down hold the town to ransom?

Anonymous said...

If everyone who insists on Dreamland being kept open actually went there every year then it would make as money as alton towers.