Dreamland sale finalised

Dreamland
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Dreamland leaseholder Sands Heritage Limited has successfully purchased the legacy theme park for £2.3m according to council documents, with a further £4.7m paid for an adjoining council-owned car park. The historic seaside venue has changed hands, albeit to a very familiar pair.

 

A report from Thanet District Council has stated that the sale of Margate’s iconic theme park Dreamland completed in December, with current leaseholders and operators Sands Heritage Ltd acquiring the site and adjoining car park for £7m.

The sale comes ten years after a council CPO on the site to save the legacy park from falling into disrepair, with £5.8m of the sale price earmarked as compensation for former owners Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company.

“I was part of the Cabinet that took the decision to issue the CPO, so I’ve had a particular interest in the project,” council leader Rick Everett told isle of Thanet News. “It felt then that the CPO carried risks, but the alternative was to leave the site, which is in a prominent location in Margate, derelict and unloved.”

“We knew then, as now, that Dreamland carries a special place in the hearts of many people, both in Thanet and beyond. What successive councils have achieved is a major success story – Dreamland now is unrecognisable, compared to 2013.”

The park opened under Sands Heritage Ltd in 2015, following a £19.4m regeneration funded by DCMS, Heritage Lottery Fund and the council, however SHL entered administration in 2016 after the park was hit by financial difficulty in its first year of operation.

Hedge fund Arrowgrass then purchased SHL’s shares, secured debt payment, and invested a further £25m in revitalising the space with restored vintage rides, street food vendors, and a main events stage, under SHL’s existing 99-year lease.

Following the completion of the freehold sale to SHL – which prohibits residential development on the site for at least ten years – plans for the future of the park include establishing a 124-bed hotel on Margate seafront, featuring conference facilities, restaurant, bar and gym.

“We are confident our investment will be a catalyst in generating a positive seismic shift for Margate’s local economy,” said Dreamland CEO Eddie Kemsley.

“We are passionate about Margate and having committed significant investments already into the Dreamland estate, we know for Dreamland to succeed it is essential for Margate to attract domestic and international tourists as well as business trips all year round.”

 

Dreamland to remain closed over Easter

 

Hit by Covid – at a time when the park was enjoying a visitor revival – Dreamland will be taking a slower pace to reopening. The park has announced it is to remain closed until at least June this year, only reopening to the public when social distancing rules have been relaxed.

Margate, Kent / UK – August 2 2017: The Scenic Railway at Dreamland Park under blue sky

The heritage theme park confirmed it will not operate its outdoor rides, Octopus’s Garden or Roller Disco during Easter 2021, due to the requirements of the park’s vintage offering.

“We made tough decisions early on in the pandemic to ensure Dreamland’s future is safe, and we are prepared to wait to ensure our guests are completely safe on our rides,” said a spokesperson. “It’s worth remembering that Dreamland is a unique venue in that most of our rides are vintage, some built 100 years ago.”

“The age and configuration of these rides means it is difficult to accommodate the very specific, social distancing and safety measures required to stop the spread of Covid-19.”

Should social distancing measures be lifted as projected in June, the park will also begin reinstating postponed live events, such as the Hi-Tide Festival.


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