Dreamland becomes more than a Dream

Another little bit about this story: The target audience for this publication would be those who live within the Thanet area, because it mostly concerns them due to the reaction that Dreamland would get, due to tourism and possibly criticism, so they would want to know about it. The target newspaper would obviously be a local one, that being in Thanet, The Thanet Times or the Gazette.

My principal source was a press release from the Thanet District Council website, and I used an interview with two locals from Margate to get a local opinion on the matter and included this in the article.

The obvious inspiration for my article, and what attracted me to it, was that I live in the town of Margate and I used to go to Dreamland as a child, and have seen it decay for many years.

By Emily Wonford

November 22, 2009

PLANS to restore Margate’s desolate theme park are well under way at the seaside resort in Thanet, Kent.

The Government’s Sea Change fund is set to give the project £3.7 million pounds to transform the dilapidated site, which was once a thriving theme park with lions, elephants and rides, into the world’s first historic amusement park full of historic rides. The historic rides that are to be used in the remodel of Dreamland have been rescued from various amusement parks across the UK in the past few years, and are the last surviving examples of their type.

The project involves various campaigns and companies that are all trying to improve the town of Margate: the Margate Renewal Partnership, Dreamland Trust, Save Dreamland Campaign, Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company and Thanet District Council, who is responsible for the submission of the application.

The Sea Change Fund place culture at the heart of regenerating England’s numerous Seaside resorts mainly by investing in the arts, the surrounding public space and existing cultural assets. As well as support from the Sea Change Fund, the regeneration of Dreamland is backed by Kent County Council, English Heritage and the Arts Council England and the project has already received its first round of funds of £548,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund along with 10 percent match funding from Thanet District Council.

Plans for the layout for Dreamland are said to be built around the UK’s oldest surviving wooden rollercoaster, and fourth oldest coaster in the world, the Scenic Railway, built in1920 and thankfully unsuccessfully burnt in April 2008. It is said the project proposes to restore the Dreamland Cinema, which is a grade II listed building, and will be become coupled together with the amusement park.

There will be a continual theme throughout the park to coincide with the historical rides, with the transformation focusing on the centre of British popular culture, its music and the fashions of the young people during the post war period.

Matt Leighton, 19, who has always lived in Margate, said: “I think it will attract tourists, but once they take a look at the town they will think twice because the state Margate is in at the moment isn’t good and it would be a waste of money.

Although on the plus side, it will benefit the youth who do not have a lot to do here, so it could be a good thing.”

As well as the anticipated wait for Dreamland, Margate locals are also in waiting for the completion of the Turner Contemporary that is also hoping to attract regular tourists the town, however some of the public think that the two are better in theory rather than practical.

Vikki Page, 18, said: “Although the remodel of Dreamland will increase Thanet’s tourism economy, along with the Turner Centre it could get a little crowded, as Margate isn’t as big as people think. Rather than turning Dreamland into a theme park, use it for a real need, like housing.”

It is hoped by all supporters that Dreamland will be a successful for generating employment to young and local people but most importantly for the attraction for tourists, drawing in 700,000 visits per year, half of which will be paying to experience the thrill of the rides by purchasing wristbands. Visitors will also be able to relish in the landscaped gardens and the park itself with free entry.

Nick Laister, Chair of the Dreamland Trust, said: “This is fantastic news and is yet another very positive step to delivering this world’s first visitor attraction. The Dreamland Trust, along with its partners, is committed to bringing this project to reality as quickly as possible.”

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