Save Dreamland: Frequently Asked Questions
We have been inundated with questions about the future of Dreamland Fun Park, Margate, and its Scenic Railway roller coaster, the UK's only listed amusement park ride. On this page, planning consultant Nick Laister attempts to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
1. If the Scenic Railway is Grade II listed, doesn't this mean that it is protected from demolition?
2. What does the Local Plan say about Dreamland?
3. I have heard there is a document called the Margate Masterplan. What is it?
If the Scenic Railway is Grade II listed, doesn't this mean that it is protected from demolition?
Not necessarily. The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 states that, in considering whether to grant planning permission for development which affects a listed building or its setting, the local planning authority (or the Secretary of State, depending on which is making the decision) shall have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses. Planning Policy Guidance Note 15 ('Planning and the Historic Environment') sets out Government policy for the protection of listed buildings, and the role played by the planning system in their protection. Local authorities and developers must take this guidance into account.
Paragraph 3.3 of PPG15 emphasises the importance that the Government places on the protection of listed buildings:
"Once lost, listed buildings cannot be replaced; and they can be robbed of their special interest as surely by unsuitable alteration as by outright demolition. They represent a finite resource and an irreplaceable asset. There should be a general presumption in favour of the preservation of listed buildings, except where a convincing case can be made out, against the criteria set out in this section, for alteration or demolition."
Listed building controls ensure that proposals for demolition are fully scrutinised before any decision is reached. Paragraph 3.17 of PPG15 states:
"...the Secretaries of State would not expect consent to be given for the total or substantial demolition of any listed building without clear and convincing evidence that all reasonable efforts have been made to sustain existing uses or find viable new uses, and these efforts have failed; that preservation in some form of charitable or community ownership is not possible or suitable; or that redevelopment would produce substantial benefits for the community which would decisively outweigh the loss resulting from demolition."
This case will have to be made before demolition can be considered. Furthermore, and importantly for this case, paragraph 3.17 states:
"The Secretaries of State would not expect consent to demolition to be given simply because redevelopment is economically more attractive to the developer than repair and re-use of a historic building..."
Paragraph 3.19 of PPG15 states that listed building consent for demolition should not be granted unless the authority (or the Secretary of State himself) is satisfied that real efforts have been made without success to continue the present use. This should include: "the offer of the unrestricted freehold of the building on the open market at a realistic price reflecting the building's condition". Therefore if another operator is prepared to acquire some, or all, of Dreamland and continue to operate the park, there is no justification in planning policy terms for its demolition and redevelopment.
What does the local plan say about Dreamland?
The Local Plan is currently under review. One minute it protects Dreamland, the next minute it doesn't. Visit our Local Plan page for the full story, and follow the roller coaster ride that has been the Local Plan policy for Dreamland!
I have heard there is a document called the Margate Masterplan. What is it?
The Margate Masterplan is a document produced by consultants for Thanet District Council and other partners. The Dreamland site is a key site in the Masterplan. However, the Masterplan is seriously flawed. The consultants publicly admitted that they were unaware that operators were interested in acquiring Dreamland. They therefore did not include the continuation of the amusement park as an option. This was criticised by the Save Dreamland Campaign and the Inspector in the Local Plan Inquiry. For more information on the Margate Masterplan, click here.
More questions and answers coming soon.
If you would like to join Nick Laister in his campaign to save Dreamland and the Scenic Railway, you can email him by clicking here.
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