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Amusement park receives £3.7m regeneration funding

‘Dreamland’, a derelict 16-acre amusement park in Margate, Kent has received confirmation of government funding for a planned retro-regeneration by Levitt Bernstein Architects.

The site will be transformed into the world’s first ‘vintage amusement park’, including rides and attractions from other British theme parks, some of which are the last of their kind.

The park is part of a much larger project which includes the hopeful re-use of Dreamland’s listed ‘super cinema’ which currently sits on the Marine Parade.

Dreamland first opened in 1920 and contains what is now the UK’s oldest surviving wooden rollercoaster - the Grade II listed ‘Scenic Railway’. An initial success, the park was bought by in 1990, but was later stripped of its assets and closed in 2003, after its major rides had been dismantled. In 2005 Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company bought Dreamland for £20m.

Following a fire in 2008, which damaged the Scenic Railway, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust wrote a scoping report outlining how Dreamland could be brought ‘back to commercial use’. This led to a feasibility study in 2009 and renewed interest in the site’s rejuvenation.

The architectural integrity of the site must be finely balanced with a practical use for a modern world

With the input of architects, specialist amusement park designers from France and a theatre expert, the ‘Dreamland Project’ received Heritage Lottery Fund backing in the form of ‘Stage One pass for grants’ of £2.9m. On top of this, a £4m contribution from the current land owners is in negotiation.

The funding has been welcomed by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust. Chief Executive Ros Kerslake said:

‘We are thrilled to be part of the team responsible for regenerating Dreamland and contributing to the rejuvenation of the world famous seaside town of Margate. Sea Change funding will be a massive boost for the scheme and will help us in our aim to develop an exciting area of fun and historical importance that can be enjoyed by the community, as well as serve as a huge stimulus to the local economy by boosting tourism and creating jobs.

‘We have worked on numerous projects over the years where . Dreamland exemplifies exactly that balance and is the type of challenging project that we at the Trust love to take on.’

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