Kent

Margate Dreamland site reopens for open day

  • 17 November 2013
  • From the section Kent

The Dreamland theme park in Margate has been opened to the public for the first time since 2006.

The park, once home to Europe's largest big wheel, opened for three hours to allow people to hear about plans to restore the seafront site.

Thanet District Council bought the attraction from the former owner DreamlandLive by compulsory purchase earlier this year.

DreamlandLive lost a High Court appeal against the purchase last month.

The funfair is home to a Grade II* listed, wooden roller coaster.

'That smell'

Nick Laister, Dreamland Trust chairman, said: "People will be able to walk underneath and around the Scenic Railway and go into areas you haven't been able to go in for years."

The ride was damaged in an arson attack in 2008 but is to be restored as the centrepiece of a heritage theme park.

John Cripps, a DJ at Dreamland in the 1970s and a volunteer with the trust who has helped with preparations for the open day, said: "There was just something about that smell of Dreamland - the candyfloss, the toffee apples, the chips all mingled into one.

"If you could bottle that today you could make a fortune."

Open day organiser Dan Thompson said: "This is a symbolic event. This is saying Dreamland now belongs to the people again.

"We will be asking people to get involved over the next year and get their hands dirty helping us make this all happen."

The trust has £10m of funding in place and hopes work to restore the Scenic Railway can start in February.

Historic rides from other fairgrounds around the UK are also being restored for the park, which the trust hopes will be open for business at Easter 2015.

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