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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 18 June 2007

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THE new Heritage Amusement Park proposed for Margate's Dreamland site moved a step closer this week as dismantling work commenced on the remaining rides at the defunct Pleasureland Amusement Park in Southport, Merseyside. The rides, which are some of the last remaining examples of their type in the world, will be placed in storage to enable them to be rebuilt as part of the proposed Heritage Amusement Park at Dreamland, Margate.

Campaign Leader Nick Laister says:- "Southport's Pleasureland is one of only a handful of seaside amusement parks in this country that still have original vintage amusement park rides. Rides such as the River Caves and Caterpillar date back to the 1920s. Sadly the park closed last year and the rides were due to be bulldozed this month to make way for a new temporary fairground operator. The Campaign has been in discussions with Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Pleasureland's new owners, Sefton Council, since February with a view to removing all the original rides to allow them to be placed in storage for use in the proposed Heritage Amusement Park. Thankfully these discussions have resulted in the rides being 'donated' to the Dreamland project."

The rides currently being dismantled include the vintage 1960-built Wild Mouse wooden roller coaster that formerly operated at Morecambe's Frontierland and the 1922 Caterpillar, identical to the one that operated at Dreamland between 1922 and 1980, becoming one of its most famous rides. The Campaign's contractors (Hopkinson Construction Engineering Ltd, who have just completed construction of the Knightmare ride at Camelot) started work on ride dismantling on Wednesday 6 June 2007 and work should finish by 30 June.

Nick Laister says:- "I visited Pleasureland a few weeks ago with ride engineers Dave Collard and David Wragg to survey the condition of the rides, most of which were in reasonably good condition.

The rides would have all been bulldozed over the next few weeks as Sefton Council are in the process of clearing the site for Norman Wallis ‘Dreamstorm’, who has an 18 month lease on the site.

We were given a very tight deadline to secure the necessary funding and remove the rides.

A large proportion of the funding has been provided by the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company Ltd (MTCRC), the owners of Dreamland.

I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank Toby Hunter and the rest of the team at MTCRC; without their help these rides would undoubtedly have been lost and the Dreamland Heritage Amusement Park project could not have been delivered.

I would also like to thank Tony Corfield at Sefton Council for his help, and for keeping the rides safe whilst the bulldozers cleared the rest of the site, and Susan Marsh and Dave Collard for their valuable assistance."

The Save Dreamland Campaign launched its proposals for a Heritage Amusement Park, based around the listed Scenic Railway, in May 2007. The Heritage Amusement Park, which would be a world's first, will include some of the remaining examples of Britain's amusement park heritage in a high quality park-like environment around the Scenic Railway. The listed Cinema building would also be brought back into use with rides, shows, bars, restaurants and an amusement park/seaside heritage museum.

The Save Dreamland Campaign has set up The Dreamland Trust, which will play a key role in delivering the Heritage Amusement Park project. Nick, who is Chairman of The Dreamland Trust, added:- "We believe that this is the best option to secure the future of the Grade 2 listed Scenic Railway and for the distinguished history of the park to be recognised. It is also no exaggeration to say that within the next 12 months most of the country's amusement park heritage outside of Blackpool and Great Yarmouth will be lost. It is therefore an ideal way of safeguarding and preserving the UK's amusement park heritage at this critical time. We are currently in active discussions with a number of other parks with a view to saving their threatened historic rides and moving them to Dreamland. The Dreamland project could not have been better timed and will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in the regeneration of Margate."

Initial feasibility work undertaken by the Save Dreamland Campaign and by independent consultants suggests that the project will be viable. Further feasibility work on the project is to be undertaken over the coming weeks by a leading tourism consultancy.

Nick Laister concludes:- "The project still has a long way to go, but we are hopeful that we can open the new Heritage Amusement Park for the 2009 season.

I look forward to continuing to work with MTCRC and Thanet District Council to deliver this first-class visitor attraction to Margate."


ON Friday 15 June  2007 the newly refurbished Latin lounge opened to the public for the first time.

There’s a real feeling of discovery having made one’s way down the narrow alley off Post Office Avenue, which leads to the portals of this treasure. Inside the décor is tasteful with skilful mirror effects and the spaciousness of this Victorian building is a pleasant surprise.

The effective interior design by Coco and the friendly staff contribute to its soothing ambience. A lot of thought and effort has obviously gone into this enterprise. Carol, the owner of the business, says:- "It feels like a dream, now it is actually open after all the hard preparatory work."

Her wine bar offers a range of Mediterranean food and she intends to hold live music sessions, including Jazz. Her intention is not that of another night club but the creation of a relaxing and more sophisticated venue, open for all to enjoy but mainly catering for those 25 plus.

Besides the lower room there is the smaller Primera Bar where musical events can be held and upstairs a function room which can hold up to 80 guests for special events and occasions. "Excellent service will be a priority." Carol promises.

We wish them well for the future.  For further details see:- Or ring 01704 536700. 

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