Dreamland Margate has been granted a new premises licence which will allow a doubling of outdoor events and extend eight indoor events per year from a 2am closing to 4am.
For outdoor events 8 can be at 75dba and 32 at 65dba. Large events cater for up to “19,999” people.
The licence, which will be reviewed after 18 months, also permits the park to hold four-dayer events – up from the current two-dayers- although there must be at least 28 days between each of these.
The licence, with amendments, was granted by Thanet council yesterday (February 1) following a lengthy meeting. Park bosses say the extended events are needed “for the ongoing financial viability of Dreamland.”
The previous licence at Dreamland covered the external event space with conditions restricting 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 had a closing time of 2am.
There had been objections to the extended opening times and number of events – with 48 originally requested – from residents, including many at neighbouring Arlington House, and from Kent Police and Thanet council’s Environmental Health department.
Representation from A Better Arlington on behalf of residents in the block said: “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.”
Following the licensing hearing resident John Moss, who has previously complained about events exceeding prescribed noise limits, said he had ‘little confidence’ that future gigs would remain within the 75 and 65dba range.
Objections were also raised by Kent Police with concerns over noise nuisance, traffic disruption, Anti-Social Behaviour or Public Disorder.
Support for the application came from 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.
Dreamland said the extended events and times were ‘commercially necessary.’
A representation from park bosses said: “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 for Dreamland 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.
A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The council’s Licensing Sub Committee met on Wednesday 1 February to discuss an application for a new premises licence at Dreamland, 49 Marine Terrace, Margate.
“Following deliberations the Sub Committee granted the application subject to conditions. Dreamland is now permitted to increase the number of external events that it may hold per year from 20 to 40. The venue will also be permitted to end indoor events at 4am on eight occasions during the year, with a 2am close otherwise.
“Environmental Health recommended refusal of the licence because of concerns around the licensing objective of preventing public nuisance. Permission was granted, however, subject to noise limiting conditions.
“The licence will be reviewed after 18 months.”
Eddie Kemsley, CEO Dreamland Margate, said: ‘I’m very grateful to Thanet District Council and all the other organisations involved, for their consideration and approval of our license application.
“We’re very much looking forward to expanding our programme of live events and welcoming more artists and customers to Dreamland and Margate.”
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