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Historic rides removed from Dreamland

By Isle of Thanet Gazette  |  Posted: August 15, 2013

Police were called to the seafront after reports that rides were being taken from Dreamland

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PLANS for an £11 million heritage amusement park at Dreamland were dealt a blow after several historic rides went missing.

Dreamland Trust officials were alerted to reports on Monday of workmen removing parts and fear rare attractions could be scrapped or sold on.

Council officials served notice on site owners Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company (MTCRC) to quit the park this month following a prolonged legal battle for compulsory purchase. MTCRC has until September 3 to clear the land.

Rides have been kept on site since the park was damaged by fire in 2008 but MTCRC denies that they belong to the Dreamland Trust and says no rent has been received for the storage of any items.

MTCRC director Toby Hunter said: "Many of the rides tagged by them were not theirs to tag.

"We are more than satisfied we are neither selling or scrapping any parts relating to the scenic railway or any rides or parts that relate to rides which the Dreamland Trust have evidenced are owned by them.

"At the Compulsory Purchase Order inquiry, a large number of rides that we owned and that were to have populated the heritage amusement park were no longer part of the council's scheme.

"Sadly, this local authority and their partners, the Dreamland Trust, continue to deal in propaganda. We will see if their ability to spin is matched by their ability to run a world-class leisure attraction.

"It is surely ironic to accuse us of moving rides that are located on our site without their permission."

The Dreamland Trust claim the rides were stored with MTCRC consent and say they have documents to prove they own the rides.

A spokesman said: "The historic rides collection has been collated by The Dreamland Trust over a decade, many of the rides being rescued or donated by supporters of the Save Dreamland Campaign.

"It is with disgust and disbelief that the trust reports that MTCRC began removing the collection this week without consent.

"The police are aware of all the missing items and have visual evidence of the property being removed and are carrying out further surveillance and investigations."

A police spokesman said: "Kent Police was called to the former Dreamland site in Margate on Monday to reports that some of the old rides were being taken from the site. Officers are looking into the matter to explore whether any offences have been committed."

The Court of Appeal will hear a final challenge by MTCRC to the compulsory purchase next month but vintage rides are central to the plans to rejuvenate Dreamland.

Thanet council says security has been stepped up after a number of recent break-ins damaged the Grade II*-listed structures.

A spokesman said: "We are aware of a number of incidents at Dreamland in the last few weeks and either council officers or representatives from our contractors Coombs have assisted the police.

"We have also increasingly stepped up security to the cinema because we are mindful that damaged caused by intruders will have to be corrected in the future. However, it is the responsibility of the current owners to ensure that the structures, protected due to their listing, are kept from harm."

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