Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Amusement park gets 3.7m grant

The Scenic Railway on fire
The Scenic Railway was badly damaged in an arson attack in 2008

A Grade II listed rollercoaster which was badly damaged in an arson attack will be rebuilt next year with the help of a £3.7m government grant.

Restoration of the Scenic Railway ride, built in 1920, is central to a scheme to save Margate's Dreamland amusement park in Kent.

The resort has received the largest grant out of seven made in the government's 2009 Sea Change programme.

The Dreamland Trust plans to open an amusement park based on vintage rides.

Many of the rides are in storage, after the trust rescued them from across the UK over the past decade.

Oldest survivor

The Sea Change programme aims to regenerate rundown coastal resorts through culture and heritage.

"It is projects like this, creating new national attractions, that can rekindle the English love affair with our seaside," said Richard Simmons, chief executive of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

Dreamland's Scenic Railway is the oldest surviving rollercoaster in the UK and the fourth oldest in the world.

It has been shut since 2006 and was badly damaged in an the arson attack last year.

Restoration of the railway and other historic rides will be carried out alongside that of the Grade II listed Dreamland cinema building.

"This is fantastic news and is yet another very positive step to delivering this 'world's first' visitor attraction," said chair of the Dreamland Trust, Nick Laister.

"This proposal has the ability to create an outstanding, 21st Century attraction at Margate, capitalising on the resort's unique heritage."

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