Ownership of the freehold of Dreamland has today (Monday 21 December 2020) transferred from Thanet District Council to the current lessee and operator of the park, Sands Heritage Limited (SHL). This marks completion of the sale of the iconic Margate site.
The Amusement Park, the undercover building housing The Hall by the Sea and The Ballroom, along with the seafront Dreamland Cinema Building will transfer into the ownership of SHL as a result of the sale.
Cabinet members agreed in August 2019 to sell the freehold of the site in order to secure a long-term, viable future for Dreamland.
The council has owned the Dreamland site since September 2013 following a Compulsory Purchase Order which was a catalyst for the re-opening of the reimagined amusement park in 2015.
SHL has operated the park since its reopening and holds the site on a 99 year lease.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Rick Everitt said:
“This is a significant milestone for Thanet and marks the successful completion of the council’s bold move to CPO this iconic seafront site. The council’s intervention had widespread community support and was absolutely necessary to protect Dreamland and its important heritage assets, which had fallen into considerable disrepair. We believe the council’s actions have given Dreamland the best possible chance to be central to Margate’s future, as well as a much loved part of its past.
“Funding by the council, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and National Lottery Heritage Fund has enabled transformation of this important heritage attraction, and we’ve already seen thousands of visitors head to our original seaside resort as a result.
“Sale of the entire complex will unlock the continued regeneration of other parts of the site and provide more opportunities for further investment and expertise that the council would simply not be in a position to provide, while protecting the elements that matter most to our residents and visitors.
“It is critical that we do all we can to support the local economy with many businesses affected by the widespread impacts of COVID-19. Today’s sale is the culmination of many years of hard work and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their support, in particular The Dreamland Heritage Trust, who have been a key part of ensuring that Dreamland’s heritage is protected and developed.”
Andrew Baker, Acting Chair of the Dreamland Heritage Trust said:
“The Dreamland Heritage Trust consider that the sale of the Dreamland site should lever further investment into the site which will ensure that Sands Heritage Ltd. keeps growing Dreamland into a thriving business at the heart of Margate’s regeneration.
“Throughout the sale process we have been working with SHL, Thanet District Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund to ensure that the heritage aspects of the park are retained and enhanced, both now and in the future.
“Following the sale of the Dreamland site we have reached an agreement with SHL as to how our two organisations will work collaboratively in the future. In this way the uniqueness of Dreamland – its heritage – is protected and grown in tandem with this new chapter of the Dreamland story.”
Conditions are attached to the sale to ensure that the listed heritage structures are protected and a restrictive covenant is in place to control future use of the site and retain this for leisure, in line with planning policy.
External legal advice regarding the process has been sought and two independent valuers were identified to ensure that the proceeds raised from the sale provide best value for the council tax payer.
The council’s obligations to the external grant funders have also been removed.