Margate Dreamland fire 'started deliberately'

Scenic Railway at Dreamland Image copyright PA/Gareth Fuller
Image caption A Grade II*-listed scenic railway ride was damaged in an arson attack in 2008

A fire at the former Dreamland theme park in Margate is believed to have been started deliberately by intruders who broke into the secured premises.

Thanet council said the fire broke out in a building on the site of the Grade II* listed scenic railway, but the structure was not damaged.

The fire, at 20:30 BST on Wednesday, was reported by the public and put out by Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

The scenic railway was badly damaged in another arson attack in 2008.

Dreamland, once home to Europe's largest big wheel, closed in 2003 and fell into disrepair.

It was bought by Thanet District Council through a compulsory purchase order last year.

Heritage park

The local authority, which provides security and regular patrols for the site, said it believed the fire was deliberate.

It said it was working with Kent Police to review how the intruders got in and whether additional measures would be needed.

The council and The Dreamland Trust are to reopen the site next year as a heritage theme park using historical rides from other fairgrounds around the UK as well as the restored railway.

"Council officers attended to assess the damage, along with our partners at the Dreamland Trust, and are back on site this morning to review what measures need to be put in place to prevent a repeat incident," said Councillor Iris Johnston.

"Plans will progress as scheduled to develop the exciting new amusement park."

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