Proposals to extend indoor licence to 4am and ‘significantly increase’ large events at Dreamland provoke resident and police objections


Objections have been lodged by residents, police and the council’s environmental health officer to proposals from Dreamland to extend licensing hours until 4am for indoor events and treble the number of large events.

The current licences are split into two areas: the external event space and the internal areas which include Hall By the Sea, Roller Disco and Ball Room.

The external event space has conditions which restrict the number of large events to four two-dayers per year at 75dB and 12 events at 15dB above background.

Internally licensed areas have a noise limiting condition and may operate until 2am.

But the proposed application is asking for 8 events at 75dB, 16 events at 70dB and 24 events at 65dB with an increase from events lasting two days going up to 4 days, four times per year on the ‘temporary stage’ Outdoor events will be able to run between 9am and 11pm.

Recorded and live entertainment indoors at Hall by the Sea, the Ballroom and Roller Disco, would also see hours extended from a 2am finish to 4am.

Large events cater for up to “19,999” people. A sound management plan has been included with the application.


Residents, particularly those at neighbouring Arlington House, have objected to the plans.

Representation from A Better Arlington on behalf of residents in the block says: “The new licence application seeks a significant increase in the number of events, potentially outdoor events on both days of every weekend during the summer months.

“Furthermore, the application seeks four four-day events which we understand would be all day events, some seven hours in duration from morning to night whether that be midweek or for example Friday to Monday. It is these multi day daytime events that are particularly disruptive and unwelcome to residents.

“Indoor events wish to be licenced until 4am, which presents the potential for late night and early morning noise and public nuisance unless properly managed.

“It is now six years since the reopening of Dreamland and over that time, it is clear that the business model is evolving from funfair to live entertainment venue as determined by the new licence application.”

Arlington House Photo John Horton

A Better Arlington also says indoor events will still cause disruption due to poor insulation and Dreamland not investing in appropriate specialist soundproofing and bass dampening measures.

The representation concludes that Dreamland’s significance of a specialist indoor and outdoor live entertainment venue in Margate is recognised, particularly with the closures of Margate Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal. However: “Due consideration must be given to the disproportionate and unreasonable encroachment on the peaceful enjoyment of a resident’s property, loss of living and working from home amenity and the deleterious effect on the psychological wellbeing and quality of life for the local residential population that a 19-hour per day seven day per week operating and entertainment licence would create.”

A response from Kent Police requests trading hours for all licensable activities indoors end at 2am.

The Force raised several areas that need clarification and more detail and highlighted the possibility of antisocial behaviour and the impact on parking and from noise on residents.

Acting Chief Inspector Ian Swallow says in the representation: “Kent Police are concerned that any event has the potential to impact the local residential community either as a noise nuisance or impacting those living in the immediate area surrounding Dreamland through traffic disruption, Anti-Social Behaviour or Public Disorder. The License as requested does not provide sufficient information to allay the concerns of the District Police establishment.

“The police have been made aware and attended for disorder during two large music events in 2022; Rudimental and Craig David.

“To grant this application as requested would have detrimental effect on the residents and would have a serious impact on the local community and transport infrastructure. This will be particularly evident during the peak Summer season, where tourism increases visitors to the district considerably.

“The lack of public transport to disperse people at the proposed closing time of 04:00 will leave the local area open to public disorder (the potential for twenty thousand people being ejected into a highly populated residential area, at such an unsociable hour, is above and beyond even the sum of late licence patrons across the rest of the district).

“People will be unable to find accommodation at such a time and may resort to the local beaches to sleep off the effects of the night before. The risk to life is considerable with these numbers potentially exposed to hostile environmental conditions.

“There will be a secondary impact on the environment and further impact on the council operatives cleaning the beaches making them ready for the tourist footfall on peak, or basic environmental considerations the next day. These considerations would have a major impact on local policing after any large scale event and would place the safety and security of the public at a higher risk due to the resource intensive factors above.”

Some revisions to licensing conditions have since been agreed between Dreamland and Kent Police.

Environmental Health say that since the first licence was granted for Dreamland in June 2015, 83 noise complaints, from 74 separate households, have been received.

The EH officer says: “Dreamland’s existing licence is already at the limit of acceptability; the location and open air nature of the venue does not support the number of external events at the sound levels proposed.

“For internally licensed areas, any increase beyond existing 2am will have the potential for public nuisance and is opposed by EH unless areas used for regulated entertainment have an acoustic assessment to determine outbreak and implement mitigation to ensure residents are not unreasonably disturbed from events which are proposed to go on until 4am.”

One Arlington House resident said the license application amounts to a change of use for the park

They said: “Dreamland until recently was an outdoor amusement park catering for tourists during the day and primarily during the summer season.

“The new licence application changes this dramatically. It is clear that the intention is no longer to continue operating as such. The removal of many of the park’s rides is witness to this. This new application suggests that the park’s owners now intend to turn the venue into an all year round events venue. Surely this is a change of use of the premises requiring more than just a new licence application.”

Last year Dreamland’s Pendulum thrillseeker ride was transported to its new home in Great Yarmouth’s Pleasure Beach site. According to Pleasure Beach bosses the Pendulum was one of six rides that were up for sale.

Rides made by Zamperla and installed at the Margate amusement park in 2018 were also advertised for sale on specialist website Interlink.

Letters of support have been submitted by six residents, businesses including Fort Road Hotel, The Albion Rooms, Café Darcy, Cinque Ports, Southeastern, Stagecoach South East, Faith in Strangers, Turner Contemporary, People dem Collective, East Kent College and Shepherd Neame.

A representation from The Albion Rooms says: “The Albion Rooms has always been an advocate for Dreamland as the events bring a wave of much needed tourism to Margate, especially in the wake of the closure of both the Winter Gardens and the Theatre Royal, both of which have left a huge hole in our yearly tourism; which Dreamland is perfectly placed to pick up.

“The events are beneficial to us personally as it actively increases room bookings, in advance, so we have guaranteed income and it also brings revenue up to Clittonville. For example – we are already fully booked due to the Happy Mondays/Primal Scream event at Dreamland which is comfort to us in turbulent times.

“The benefit to Margate of more events is tantamount as the tourism they bring supports lots of local businesses throughout the summer. This increased revenue provides jobs for local people and secures the future of our hospitality businesses; we’ve already lost several great businesses to the cost of living crisis (Love, London Tavern, Ouma’s to name a few). These events increase visibility of Margate and put it on the map! We’ve recently had some great national publicity and need to live up to this and continue to draw people to Margate. Dreamland is crucial to the artistic culture that is the beating heart of Margate.”


Stagecoach added: “Thanet is a vital location for us and we are proud to serve the local community. From our perspective, Dreamland is a hugely positive part of Thanet and we are very supportive of the local team looking for new, innovative ways to both serve the local community, and create an attractive proposition to I crease visitors to Thanet who in turn contribute to the local economy which benefits the wider Thanet community.”

“Dreamland does have optionality to move some of these events inside to our undercover venues; Hall by the Sea, Roller Room and Ballroom. Strategically, the company plans to mitigate this risk by an extensive redevelopment of its undercover areas in order to reduce the seasonality and weather risk.”

Margate WI also offered support, saying: “It’s a bonus for people living in Kent (as events are attended not just by people in Thanet but people from all over the county), as it means people don’t have to travel to London or beyond. We have been incredibly lucky to have names like De La Soul, Gorillaz, Noel Galllagher and the Beach Boys play, names which usually headline festivals.”

Turner Contemporary Credit Hufton + Crow

The representation from Turner Contemporary says: “With an approved TDC Iicence, Dreamland could increase the number of events they are able to host, As such, there would be wider implications, increasing visitor numbers to Turner Contemporary and other organisations and businesses in Margate and developing the night-time economy which is key to Margate. Visitors are integral to the success of our town.

“The more people who visit, the more we are able to continue doing the essential work that feeds into the wider community through social, economic and cultural enterprise.”

A submission from Dreamland says: “This application for a consolidated and extended licence would not be made unless the elements applied for were not all carefully considered and necessary for the ongoing financial viability of Dreamland.

“The numbers and types of events, and the parameters within which they need to operate have been carefully assessed, with the location of Dreamland firmly in mind, including the residential aspects, and the application is commercially necessary, not speculative.”

Figures for 2021 show an operating loss of £1.73m. In 2020 the loss was £5.5m. Overall balance sheet losses carried for the company now total £36,856,938. The accounts show turnover of £252,063 for park operations and £671,499 for events last year.

The latest accounts for park owner Sands Heritage Ltd say the plan is to develop the indoor area at the site. The report from directors says: “As a predominantly outdoor visitor attraction, the core park operating business is inherently seasonal and very much weather dependent. Similarly, events which are programmed outside either on the Scenic Stage or Events area are open to the elements, but to a certain extent are less weather dependent due to the majority of tickets being purchased in advance.”

Gigs lined up this year include Sir Tom Jones, Will Young, Bastille, McFly, Olly Murs, Primal Scream and Happy Mondays.

The proposals will be discussed by councillors on the licensing committee tomorrow (February 1).

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  1. So Dreamland, soon ,will not be a fun fair park ,it will be just a music park ,as someone who lives up by QEQM,at times the noise is irritating ,what it must be like for people adjacent to the park must be terrible,and Dreamland want more disruption,I would back the fun fair park ,but not the music side

    • It’s always going to be hard to make this area prosperous, because people here have no hunger. They will complain about everything

      • Yes, I am sure that is the reason Thanet is one of the most deprived areas in the land, has been for decades & likely will be forever-because people complain they want to get some sleep, because their neighbours refuse to soundproof their live entertainment venue, despite being handed millions of quid after voting for it to happen themselves.

        Nothing to do with inept/corrupt council officials, talking up inane non-starter projects like China Gateway for decades, funding nonsense projects like Manston for 16 years over & over with different operators making the same promises they never keep, nothing to do with throwing endless money at the dirty bed & sticking things on wall ‘modern art’ crowd, wasting money on non-viable Ferry services etc.

    • They cannot make money off the rides, only the live entertainment. There should be a midnight curfew.

      Says it all that Kemsley doesn’t want to cough up for the soundproofing to benefit her neighbours-people might wonder what happened to all those millions she & her cronies on the Margate Board voted for her to have.

      Surely if you insist on having noisy parties all night long then you should factor in the cost of not being a nusiance to your neighbours from that?

      Amazing that streets in Cliftonville now have to be careful not to make any noise at any time of the day that might upset some sticky beak professional curtain twitching moaner, yet she can throw her degenerate noise orgies with no problem if this goes through-which no doubt it will under the guise of tourism.

  2. Tell them to turn it back into a proper theme park which is what they were meant to use the PUBLIC TAX PAYERS MONEY for, or hand it over to someone that will.

    It is not the right place for large outdoor music events as it disturbs too many local people and is not acceptable.

    • Well it will be a complete waste of tax payers money. A small theme park with 2nd rate rides realistically open 10 weeks of the year won’t be profitable enough in this day and age

      • It was never going to be, but umpteen millions of public money were poured into it on the pretext of making it one.

    • They do ….. it’s called Hall by the sea , at Dreamland . I saw Public Service Broadcasting play there .
      It’s a decent sized venue and I don’t understand why it’s not used more often .
      They also have good facilities for disabled people which not all venues have .
      Regards outside music venues , I’ve attended several big outside concerts at Hyde Park ,London and they have a very strict curfew finishing time of 10:30Pm that not even Springsteen could continue to play past by,
      so I can’t see why Dreamland also shouldn’t also have such a strict curfew finishing time imposed on them out of respect for the local residents .

      • If that was the area where the “by the sea” festival used to be held, the capacity of the venue was reduced by the council / licencing to the extent that it was no longer a viable place to hold the festival and that was the end of it.

        • I don’t know about that ,Hall by the sea is indoors and it’s big enough for bands like The Beat with Dave Wakeling who played there last year and REEF are playing there in a few weeks time .

  3. Yes Peter ,your right ,i forgot,not really, the Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal,TDC hates these two places but they are not art funded,and I think as you do ,they will not reopen within 5 years ,if ever

  4. Is that what the 4 million from the town thingy is for ?

    I also thought it was given funds to be a old style theme park

  5. People objecting to a company trying hard to create a thriving business ,let them do what they need to do,these events also bring much needed income and employment to Margate in very difficult times

    • When people moved there, they didn’t expect a fun fair to be turned into a late-night open-air concert venue. So they have every right to complain.

      The Winter Gardens gave far more people employment, as it was in use pretty much every day of the year.

    • How many jobs does it provide Richard? How many full-time? How many part-time? How many are just seasonal? Is this just more of the Manston Airport local jobs nonsense, where hardly anybody worked there, those that did were mostly part time, the number predictions were always being downgraded-funnily enough by the same Wiggins shill saying the same rubbish now on behalf of RO, or does Dreamland really employ that many people full-time?

      I don’t think anybody has any issue with them trying to ‘thrive’ but it is clear & really was before the fiasco of a reopening that it wasn’t going to work as a theme park-there was never any making it a live entertainment venue until after it went totally tits-up.

      Kemsley who was on the telly non-stop bigging it up since the opening then like the Manston shills in the 2000’s who you also couldn’t shut up from talking up their empty airport we were seeing all the time suddenly vanished off to a job in London, then eventually returned as the saviour.

      Do you really expect neighbours to be happy with a debt-ridden, hedge fund owned company that voted for itself, as did their cronies to get millions in funding & yet none of it has been spent soundproofing the place for nearby residents to be able to sleep & now they want it going until 4 AM?

  6. So Sands Heritage are one step nearer to getting what they want. . Get lots of grants for a Heritage Fun Fair park which you haven’t got the funds to run properly, staff properly, open properly so it’s not ‘viable;. Only option left is a music venue. No proper sound proofing in place but hey, what does that matter – gonna make so much more money by increasing the entry numbers, increasing the number of events, extending the hours of performances. Hey presto, not viable in any other form – maybe need to sell it off?

  7. So Richard Eastlake you must be in favour of Manston reopening with your thought,to put up with the noise if it brings jobs to the area

  8. Entertainment is what a seaside town is about–lets face it, if the funfair was on a bigger scale then that would be noisy until at least 10pm –the outdoor events stop at 10.30pm due to their licence–yes they are noisy, but it brings a lot of people to the town on the weekends when on, and many people stay for the whole weekend, bringing lots of spend to the area. It has to be managed properly, but if regular, that should happen. Lets make this work.

        • I’m Dicks Lets It!

          Seriously, my spelling is mediocre… but there’s a great invention called spell and error check. Certainly, none of my books in the 60+ magazine reviews have criticised my spelling (which I vary according to market: One that I aimed at the USA has Americanized spellings).

          Anyway… will you be throwing your undies at Tom Jones?

    • Nobody is complaining about 10.30 PM, the residents have even put up with 2 AM, we are now talking about 4 AM-up to four days in a row.

      Of course all of this could have been avoided by Kemsley putting those millions she voted herself to have going to soundproofing the venue, one might ask why the money hasn’t in part been used foe this purpose, if the idea has long been to turn it into a late night/early hours entertainment venue & you would hope that TDC refuse this licence until her or Arrowgrass stump up the cash to do so.

  9. Wonderful idea all round; will bring in great figures for the local economy. The amount of noise complaints is very small given the local population, most of which who make use of this wonderful amenity.

  10. Had concerts there for years now and used to be two late night clubs on seafront.

    Much like those that moan about an airport being an airport – this has been a theme park and had late night venues here for years.

    The concerts are brilliant.

    I hope we see more.

    Don’t like it. Move.

    (That’s what people say those that don’t like the airport) I see no difference…

    Dreamland and concerts create far more jobs than any airport at manston will.

    Rock on Tommy.

  11. So much negativity.
    Dragging Thanet down.


    We want noisy airports and concerts.

    Go somewhere else if you don’t like them…

    We like two co-op in Birchington.

    These things make Thanet great.

    Stop your moaning.

  12. The old Ballroom used to close at 11PM, some went on for a Chinese at the Rice Bowl, which served until 12PM. Others just went home…
    Today, with all the Drugs and gasses being utilised, let alone the booze, I fear closing at 4 AM will bring nothing but violence, turmoil and disorder.
    So, I’m against!

  13. It’s obvious the Dreamland site is an inappropriate location for a MODERN music venue. The continued noise disturbance and noise nuisance from concerts to local residents is intolerable and has no justification .
    The site was meant to operate as a vintage theme / entertainment park and that is why it received tens of millions in grants and presumably its initial operating licence.
    Where have all the vintage rides and vintage structures gone? The much lauded Art Deco cinema is still effectively derelict. Why is that ?
    The sheer frequency of events and increasing numbers involved beggars belief. Anyone could see why Environmental health and the police are objecting . Dreamland have proved themselves to be incapable of managing large outside events in the past look no further than the abortive European football cup outside screenings which were abandoned due to riotous behaviour and a lack of managerial control and poor regard to basic safety considerations .

    One can only hope that common sense will prevail now and our local councillors act in a responsible manner.

  14. My principal concern was to tell the school principal my son has his own principles.

    I’ll get my coat.

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