Dreamland licence approved to double outdoor events and extend 8 indoor events to 4am closing

A packed out Dreamland in 2017 Photo Frank Leppard

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.

Previous large event Photo Andrew Holloway

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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    • Appalling stuff, but it is good news that they are so desperate to do it. Means they are in deep trouble as has been clear for a long time with the fire-sale of stuff there recently etc. Hopefully time is very near running out for the dog & pony show & their tax haven owners Arrowgrass will turf them out.

    • Residents won’t have any quality of life if nothing commercial happens anyway. This area is the most negative area to development I have ever come across

  1. Excellent news and a much needed boost to the local economy.

    Will create real jobs, will bring money and investment into the area and certainly be no noisier than a freight airport.

    Well done for a common sense approach and not a a NIMBY one

    • The only people who will make money is dreamland, how about living next door to it, bet you don’t but I do. I never had a problem when it was a theme park, but this is totally not the right place for a venue like this, how many brown envelopes this time.e

      • They will have to staff it with local residents and local residents will get the chance to see some huge names on their doorstep, so it won’t be only dreamland that benefits

    • How so? How many full-time jobs has Dreamland created since the mid 2010’s? How much money & investment has it bought in exactly? Because it has always been up to its eyes in debt & reliant on it’s tax haven, hedge fund owners & funding-she wangled 4 million a few years back.

      Who is investing here? Any investment goes to Dreamland & Turner, it doesn’t go to the high street, Cliftonville, the Winter Gardens, The Theatre Royal etc.

      While Kemsley & her cronies voted for 4 million for Dreamland & the never ending KCC funding for Turner keeps rolling in every year, Hartsdown Swimming Pool has had to remain closed for over a year to the public for something that benefits the entire community & beg for the money to repair the roof & councilors were unsure if they could find the money-because 500k a year or more has to go to Turner.

      TDC/KCC has no idea if/how it can fund the proposed life saving traffic measures at Dane Valley & other areas, that are something like just 20 grand to install.

      So really all these vanity projects & white elephant debt millstones do is drain & delay money from where it actually should be going & hurt the mental & physical health of locals. Neither Turner or Dreamland are self sufficient-despite over a decade for one & nearing a decade for the other, they survivie only via funding.

  2. If there isn’t already a problem with drunks and anti social behaviour, we are going to let them carry on even longer, it’s a terrible decision, not caring for anyone but themselves, just thinking about profits.

    • Clearly this is their last hurrah at paying off the debts Arrowgrass called in. The last desperate death throws of something that was never viable as a theme park which is what they reopened as & still not viable as the concert venue & ‘cultural hub’ they have rebranded themselves as.

      Shame on TDC for passing it, but we know what they are about & of course so much has been invested in this along with the Turder being the saviour of Margate/Thanet that neither can be allowed to fail without everything being done to keep it going.

      Just like the millions wasted on Manston for 16 years-with the same failed promises being made for Wiggins by the same guy that is making them for RO now, all the money wasted on the pie in the sky China Gateway fiasco that never happened etc.

  3. Hopefully with the noise limiting rules we won’t be hearing their live music events in Westgate anymore. Yeah right….

    • The noise limits are exactly the same as they were previously – but have been consistently flouted so that is why you hear it in Westgate. Dreamland has stated that concert goers and music artists demand a minimum of 95 to 100 decibels and they cannot operate at less.

      So the ball is now in the court of the residents of Margate, Garlinge, Westbrook, Westgate and even Cliftonville to lodge complaints with TDC if they are disturbed by unreasonable noise.

  4. I do wonder about how this will affect those living close and of course the resultant noise for hours after the events as large numbers of people leave. No doubt it is commercial and I am sure we all want to see Dreamland prosper but I also wonder whether this will be to the detriment of the amusement park? Southend has a vibrant year round entertainment and amusements but Margate seems to “shut down” out of main holiday season, Dreamland funfair particularly.

  5. I always thought that was there intention to become an entertainment centre slowly removing the fun park where is the indoor events going to be held the cinque Ports belongs to Dreamland anyway that support is a giveaway straight away no thought to residents may be better for the local economy not this time of year if they need money extend the park season like other seaside towns have been it seems that certain people have influenced this the chief executive sits on the town deal board and other prospective tenants in the cinema building.

  6. Can someone remind me. What came first Dreamland Amusement Park or Arlington House. This is a sensible question. People moved near to the amusement park knowing full well that it was there. People living in houses around the park knew that it was there.
    As my mother occasionally said to me “If you don’t like it move”
    This goes the same with another controversial project in Thanet that has been in site for 100 years.

    • Yes Dreamland came first. But as an Amusement Park. People didn’t ever expect kids to play on rides until 4am when they moved nearby.

      • its only the indoor bit that will have a 4am licence. much smaller numbers and the exits will dispersed along the seafront.

    • R, maybe you should get your facts right, no one has a problem with dreamland the amusement park but dreamland the music venue yes,the only people that will make money is dreamland, it will not benefit the local community in any way thefact the police objected says it all, TDC not fit for purpose. Not impressed, I cannot wait for those planes to start flying over your house.

    • Are you serious R? It was a fairground that operated during the day & evenings, not a concert venue going until 2 or 4 AM without soundproofing & blaring out garbage ‘music’ at an obnoxious level.

    • There is a vast difference in the levels of noise generated by Dreamland operating as an amusement park and Dreamland operating as an outdoor music concert venue and as a nighclub.

      Background noise is tolerable. The noise generated by music events is unreasonably intrusive when it causes you to raise your voice to have a conversation inside your house or to have to turn up the volume on your TV to make it audible.

  7. Of course the local BLM group voted for it-she moved them into the complex. Would like to know how much ‘business’ they do exactly with their ethnic hair lectures in 95% white Thanet & awful graffiti masquerading as art on walls-seems highly audacious to term themselves a business, but then again the same for Dreamland & Turner who exist on handouts & owners based offshore. A few hundred quid in the bank for their 2021 accounts suggests not much. Go Woke Go Broke strikes again.

    That they were on the strike off list at Companies House only months back suggests they are not (unsurprisingly with their niche interest) doing that well. Sure Auntie Eddie can bung them a few quid out of that four million she & her pals awarded her-wonder why she hasn’t already? Then again soundproofing the place so this wouldn’t be an issue clearly wasn’t on the list of things to do with that obscene amount of cash either.

    Of course Turder voted for it-them & Dreamland have fixed it with TDC & KCC to get nearly all of the local funding between them, while The Winter Gardens, Theatre Royal, Hartsdown Leisure etc that would benefit the whole community & not the privileged luvvie few feeding their delusions of grandeur & tooting their own trumpets for the art elite & Twotter right-on twits, have to beg & go without.

  8. I am not a party pooper and have been young myself but I hope the extra policing hours have been built into the overall cost of extending the licensing hours to 4am. Control of young groups in the summer months is difficult enough and I can only assume that people drinking until 4am will be even more so. The sad thing is that the Winter Gardens is languishing and its facilities are unused while all emphasis is being put on Dreamland and entertainment for younger people. Apart from Sir Tom, of course.

  9. Had to laugh at the list of organisations supporting the proposals.

    Many of them with their snouts wedged in the grant funding trough too.

    Millions of pounds of taxpayers cash to this cosy club of organisations who are collectively tone deaf to the needs and wishes of local residents.

  10. Ah well it will drown out the noise of the aircraft coming into land at Manston. If Ramsgate has to bear up against that noise and nuisance, Margate can do the same with Dreamland.
    It does seem that our economy locally and nationally can only pay its way by attracting thousands to buy tickets to see performances of pop music.
    Some how I don’t think there will be much sympathy for those in Margate who were prepared to throw Ramsgate under a bus over Manston. I think the rather crude and unkind expression of ‘suck it up’ might apply.

    • You are spouting nonsense george.

      Planes landing and taking off from Manston create a noise disturbance for a few minutes once or twice an hour. It is not a constant, unbroken level of noise for 10 to 15 hours a day.

      Thereby lies the difference.

  11. Yes George, a few people trying to make money by making the lives of others miserable. I really like Dreamland as a music venue, have been to several events over past 2 years and going to more this summer. They’ve attracted some brilliant bands. However a 4am licence seems crazy and asking for trouble. Why does it need to be so late?

  12. So many snowflakes on here getting emotional about people having fun. The great people of Thanet voted to cut police funding through Tory austerity and then try and use the lack of police as a reason to stifle business and entertainment. Absolute melts.

    • Let’s see how much fun it is when loads of tanked up yobbos pour out onto the seafront at 4AM, smashing people’s windows, urinating or worse on the street, puking everywhere & fighting each other.

    • Nobody is stopping anybody having any fun.

      TDC has imposed a noise limit of 65 decibels at residential receptors for the majority of events. Dreamland is choosing to operate at 75 decibels at residential receptors and is refusing to turn down the volume control.

      TDC has declined to enforce its own rules – and has now given carte blanche for the rules to be flouted twice as often – thereby lies the problem.

      • Well given the amount of cash TDC has poured into the place it has no intention of letting it be seen as a failure. It’ll just mean that people will have to factor in wind direction in their plans for summer barbecues Dreamland events being noticeably audible in Westgate or Northwood if it blows that way. I don’t think anyome has an issue with a suitable number of events but that number and noise levels are debatable, giving an 18 month licence is effectively allowing 2 full summers of such events ( they’ll ignore any changes until the end of the 24 season if a review goes a against them)
        20,000 people turning out at the end of the day is going to be chaotic, is there really enough parking, trains, accomodation in the mix to cope , or will there be a “park and ride service” provided by dreamland?
        If there is an unfortunate turn of events at one of these concerts is there a legal route to withdraw the licence?

  13. Not trying to stop fun,and not trying to shut it down – thoroughly supportive of it as a music venue. But 4am???

    • If it shut at 3am you’d still be crying about it. But just to clarify, some people like dancing until 4am, so that’s probably why.

      • No problem with dancing until 4am if that’s what folks want to do – but not inside a disused railway shed with no sound insulation, thus causing noise nuisance to those trying to sleep – especially if they are children who have to go to school or adults who are unfortunate enough to have a job and have to be up for work at 6am.

  14. I am confused where are all the rides dreamland bought with the millions it was given to bring the rides back ?

    Or has the millions for the rides been returned and not used to buy rides

  15. This is a terrible decision for all those local residents whose lives will be further blighted by this persistent noise nuisance. Nowhere else in the country except Thanet would a council reject its own departments environmental advice and support a music venue to the detriment of its residents’ welfare, situated in clearly an inappropriate location.
    TDC Cllrs appear to have simply rolled over in the face of threats or suggestions of insolvency if Dreamland didn’t get what it wanted.
    The fact that Dreamland has not put any sound proofing in the Hall by the Sea building where indoor concerts and DJ events have and will continue to take place have still to be addressed by Dreamland or for that matter TDC.
    Can it be acceptable that this situation persists, does this not demonstrate wilful
    disregard to the welfare and wellbeing towards its neighbours?

      • Yes that would be good but from what I can see, apart from some individual residents of Arlington who are raising issues, the Association is only interested in ‘working with Dreamland’. Assume this means getting free tickets and donations to their causes.
        There are many other streets affected on the boundary. Lets see what we can do.

  16. Pop pickers will remember radio one roadshows on Margate beach every summer.

    Thanet has a history of outdoor gigs.

    Should have known that when you came here.

    Don’t like it….


    Seeing most of you in here complaining and your past vocal support of manston…. Can I suggest Gatwick or Heathrow as you love airports so much.


    I’ll be rocking on with Sir Tom Jones….

    It’s not unusual…

      • No nor will the concerts.

        A club much like buzz, escape and the Punch and Judy will….

        They had nights open as late as that.

        No outdoor concert will go on until 4

        As well you know….. Sir Tom is tucked up in bed by then dreaming of the green green grass of home….

    • Pretty sure the R1 roadshows went from something like 11 AM to early afternoon. Please stop these ludicrous Strawman arguments.

      • It’s been approved.

        Stop your ridiculous snowflake tears. Book a ticket and have some fun.

        It’s been approved. My argument isn’t ridiculous. Don’t like it move simples.

    • Once again Not Impressed you are comparing apples to lemons.

      Radio 1 gigs were for a couple of hours, once a year – not all day and half the night for days on end . . .

      And even so, the noise level was not 75 decibels at your window.

  17. TDC have completely lost it. Support ‘came from 6 residents’! They’ve ignored their own Environmental Health dept. and the police. My guess is that the vast majority of Margate’s residents do not support these changes. The residents of Arlington House in particular have been treated like dirt. Doesn’t the same company that owns Dreamland also own the block?

    • It just needs a concerted effort by those genuinely negatively affected by the new conditions to get together and act, though it will be interesting to see if TDC environmental health will ne allowed to monitor the boise levels at the events, given Tdc have granted the licence.
      In response to some of the comments about the seafront nightlife scene of years gone by, through the late 80’s to early 2000’s I wouldn’t think there was a night where even 5000 people partied till the early hours. And that would have been spread over several venues, 20k from one place is going to be a challenge.

    • Ian Driver in one of his old articles said that the owners of dreamland ( at the time) had bought a number of flats in Arlington it would be interesting if the number was 6 and the addresses had a close correlation with the 6 letters of support. If so it would be a failure of due diligence by TDC. But as diligence is in very short supply within tdc that failure would be just about guaranteed or even encouraged.

      • Now that IS interesting. Where is Ian? He can be a pain, but he does occasionally raise some very important issues.

        (and what a shame that Thanet no longer appears to have a press that does investigations).

          • Thanks Kathy, but that’s not quite what I mean. There was a time when the local press would do the kind of in-depth investigations that bloggers like Ian now do (and I appreciate that you probably don’t have the time, the money or the staff to do such things).

          • Well, I think I would say there are many things you will find out on this site that you won’t get elsewhere. Quite a lot of stuff has been done on Dreamland and its sell off of assets, Global Generation Church, the situation at Florence Court Hotel, Turner Contemporary tribunal, The Lido saga, the top officer shenanigans at TDC and the Manston centre, breaking the POA story. All those articles take work, enquiries, digging out of documents etc while making sure you remain within publication laws. The site is used for its information by various national journalists who also ring sometimes when they want to know more about a particular subject, so I’d say that although I can’t get away with some of the stuff Ian publishes I certainly give you more considered journalism than my local rivals. (Not forgetting that I also have to do lots of the softer stuff to promote the community on top of that)

        • It was on his old web page, i can’t find it now, but he’d found (i assume via land registry) that one of the parties in the whole affair had bought an interest in arlington .

      • Ian Driver takes tiny morsels of truth and twists them into absolute nonsense, verging on the point of libel. His insane ramblings are only believed by a few conspiratoral fantasists not concerned with facts, who engage in his vivid make-believe garbage. You’ll notice the media no longer interview or quote him as his opinions are just that, opinions.

  18. Funny how dreamland get it passed, yet music can’t be played on the Piatzza in old town because 1 person complains about it!lick and stick again

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