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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 15:28 GMT
Dreamland plans 'a blank canvas'
Dreamland development impression
Images of how Dreamland could look in the future were on display
The owner of Margate's Dreamland funfair has begun a public consultation on plans to build shops, homes and business premises on the site.

Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company (MTCRC) believes visitors to the Kent town no longer want the kind of attractions Dreamland used to have.

"We are talking about Dreamland past and present," said boss Toby Hunter.

But Margate artist Tracy Emin said it would be a tragedy to put a shopping centre on the site.

A large model of the site went on display at the Winter Gardens as the consultation opened on Tuesday.

The tragedy is just when fun fairs and good, old-fashioned seaside resorts are making a revival, it seems Margate is going completely in the wrong direction
Tracy Emin

MTCRC has said the site is a blank canvas and the exhibition is designed to gauge public opinion.

Two potential development plans will then be drawn up and local people will be able to vote for the one they prefer.

Mr Hunter, chairman of MTCRC, said pictures of Dreamland in its heyday, on display at the exhibition, illustrated the need for new development.

"There are chaps in suits on one ride and a wonderful guy in a camel coat and bowler - you just don't see people looking like that any more," he said.

Dreamland's listed scenic railway is the only attraction left, but campaigners have fought a long battle for the site to remain a funfair.

Man in bowler hat on Dreamland ride
Old pictures show a bowler-hatted man on a Dreamland ride

"If there is nothing for people to come here for they are not going to visit Margate because it has got some nice hotels and shops," said Dave Collard of the Save Dreamland Campaign.

A planning inspector agreed with the campaigners after a public inquiry in 2004.

But Thanet District Council last year said other uses would have to be found for the site if an amusement park was not viable.

"The whole area of Thanet, especially Margate, needs regeneration," said Ms Emin.

"The tragedy is just when fun fairs and good, old-fashioned seaside resorts are making a revival, it seems Margate is going completely in the wrong direction.

"It doesn't need a shopping centre, it needs a place for leisure, and to be brought back to the grandeur and style to which it used to be accustomed."

Dreamland closes its doors
02 Nov 03 |  Kent


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