Date: Tuesday, 08 April 2008
Contact: Cheryl Pendry Press and Media Manager
Tel: 01843 577 034
Fax: 01843 295 343
CALLS TO REBUILD THE SCENIC RAILWAY
Margate’s historic Scenic Railway can be rebuilt and everything should be done to ensure that happens.
That’s the message from Thanet District Council, after fire broke out in the Grade II listed structure yesterday afternoon (Monday 7 April) for the third time in its history. The Scenic Railway, which is in the famous Dreamland amusement park site on the town’s seafront, was the first amusement park ride to be listed in the country.
The Dreamland site and the Scenic Railway is privately owned and the responsibility for rebuilding the ride lies with the owners.
Planning guidance, developed by the council, working with other organisations including the Margate Renewal Partnership and the Save Dreamland Campaign, sets out that the Scenic Railway should be kept as part of an amusement based destination. This was given strong support by local people, with 92% who took part in the consultation saying that the Scenic Railway should be kept.
Council Leader, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel, said: “The fire is a terrible blow for Margate. Many local people hold the Scenic Railway very dearly in their hearts, as our recent consultation showed, and understandably so. It’s perhaps the single most important piece of the town’s cultural heritage and has been a part of Margate for generations. We are determined that, if possible, the Scenic Railway, should be rebuilt as soon as possible and we would expect the owners to do just that. It’s a listed structure and the expectation is that, wherever possible, a listed structure should be rebuilt. Let’s not forget that in the history of the Scenic Railway, it’s been the victim of fire twice before and on both occasions, it’s been re-built. We are hopeful that can happen again this time.
“Our conservation and planning officers have a wealth of technical expertise that can be called upon by the owner if they require it and we would be happy to offer them help and advice. In the first instance, we are calling on the owners of the site to take urgent action to ensure that security at the site is stepped up, in view of what’s happened. I’m sure that local people would agree that it’s vital that this is done to safeguard what is left of the Scenic Railway today.”