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Dreamland Trust in Margate unveils plans for iconic amusement park

“Fun, food, dance and thrills - that’s what we’re going to deliver.”

The Dreamland Trust has revealed its plans for Margate’s iconic amusement park as the team works towards next year’s opening.

Project director Eddie Kemsley said: “It won’t be like it was in the Forties and Fifties or the Eighties and Nineties.

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The Dreamland site, including the scenic railway
The Dreamland site, including the scenic railway

“It will be vintage-themed but with a twist.

“It will be something that people have never seen before. I can’t give a comparison because this is going to be unique. No other place in the world is doing what we’re going to do.

“It’s a complete reinvention of seaside fun.”

A total of £18 million has been pledged to the project from Thanet District Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the government’s Sea Change programme.

And the Trust believes that there will be about 150 people employed by Dreamland in peak season, along with indirect employment through concession stands, with a total of around 200 jobs by the time the attraction opens next year.

The centrepiece of the park will be the reconstructed Scenic Railway, which attracted thousands of visitors when it was installed in 1920.

How the Dreamland site could look
How the Dreamland site could look

Mrs Kemsley said: “The Scenic Railway took half a million visitors in its first few weeks of opening, it was so iconic and important on a national level, people visited from all over the country to ride it.

“It’s beautiful, it’s visually brilliant and makes a great noise as the cars go along the track because it’s old.

“We’ve got wonderful vintage rides all over the country in workshops being restored. Some of them are nearly finished, some of them are in various stages of repair.

Designer Wayne Hemingway's vision of Dreamland

“There are beautiful old gallopers, Hurricane Jets, a Double Decker children’s ride and a caterpillar ride, which used to be popular with courting couples.

“There will also be some great experiences such as a driving school for children with little vintage cars, where they can get a Dreamland driving certificate.”

The design and branding of the park’s revival is being led by designer Wayne Hemingway and his company Hemingway Design.

Mrs Kemsley said: “There won’t be a bit of Dreamland that hasn’t been touched by an artist or designer.

“Visitors won’t sit on a bench, they’ll sit on a reclaimed dodgem car that’s been upcycled and turned into a bench.

Dreamland site is scheduled to open in June
Dreamland site is scheduled to open in June

“There won’t be ordinary queues with posts and ropes to go on a ride, it’ll be bits of letters from an old illumination from Blackpool which will create the queue line.

“Wayne Hemingway wants every single view to be an Instagram moment which can be posted online and look really interesting.”

Although vintage in style, the park will have plenty of modern elements.

Mrs Kemsley said: “From the front the site will look like a really cool modern leisure complex, with all the cool architecture to remind us of the past but then visitors will walk past modern bits that have been interpreted in a different way.

“There will be an area for food, drink and retail, with specialist caterers.

“All the vehicles serving food will be vintage vehicles.

“The entrance will have the yellow and black colour scheme which will run throughout the whole project.

“The cafes will have a cool mix of modern and vintage and the former dancehall can cater for weddings, corporate events and Christmas parties.

A scale model of the re-built Dreamland site
A scale model of the re-built Dreamland site

“And no seaside amusement park would be complete without a vintage pinball parlour - and ours will be the biggest and rarest collection in Europe, and maybe the world.”

Although entry costs have yet to be announced, membership schemes are planned for local people to ensure they have as much use as possible from the site.

The site is due to open in spring or summer next year, with the date expected to be announced at the end of this year.

Although the site still looks empty at the moment, Mrs Kemsley said that a lot of work was going on behind the scenes.

She said: “Apart from the Scenic Railway there isn’t much structural work going on at this stage of the development around the site but we’re on target.”

Thanet District Council’s project leader for Dreamland and head of economic development, Edwina Crowley, was at the launch.

She said: “We’re very excited and very pleased to be one of the partners that’s delivering this project.

The Reimagined Dreamland will make use of all the equipment left over after it closed in 2006
The Reimagined Dreamland will make use of all the equipment left over after it closed in 2006

“We’re now working towards appointing a main contractor on site and we’re also focusing on the frontage of the site and looking at ideas for that.”

Video: Reporter Graham Stothard checks out Margate's newest (and oldest) attraction

The park’s website launches today, visit www.dreamland.co.uk for more information.

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