Nick Laister, founding chair of the Dreamland Trust, quits as head of Margate amusement park
PUBLISHED: 09:19 04 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:19 04 March 2016
Mr Laister set up the Save Dreamland campaign and was behind getting Scenic Railway listed in 2002
The chairman of Margate’s Dreamland park has quit.
Nick Laister says he is to step down from the Dreamland Trust, the charity responsible for saving Margate’s famous amusement park from re-development and preserving its heritage.
Mr Laister, who co-founded the organisation and was its first chair, said: “The Dreamland Trust launched the idea of reopening Dreamland as an amusement park of historic rides in 2007, and worked with its partners, Thanet District Council and Heritage Lottery Fund, to secure the necessary funding and deliver this unique project.
“With the opening of Dreamland in 2015 the trust is now entering a new phase, where we will look to maximise the community, education and heritage benefits resulting from the project, as well as contributing to the development of other parts of the site, such as the Dreamland Cinema. This seemed to me to be an appropriate point for me to step down to allow a new chair to drive the organisation forward. It will also allow me to concentrate on my other commitments.
“I will remain as chair until a replacement is found, and I will be continuing as a director of the Dreamland Trust. I remain passionate about the Dreamland project, proud of what we have achieved, and firmly believe that the trust has a significant role to play in the future of Dreamland.”
It comes just months after the firm brought into operate the park, Sands Heritage, revealed the park was close to £3million in debt, forcing it to renegotiate repayments to its creditors.
The Dreamland Trust is now actively seeking a new chair - a non-executive voluntary role.
Mr Laister set up the Save Dreamland campaign in January 2003, after successfully securing the listing of the Scenic Railway rollercoaster the previous year.
He set up the Dreamland Trust in 2007 and became its first voluntary chair, leading the trust through its fund-raising and park development phase, through to the opening of Dreamland in June 2015.
He is, by trade, a chartered town planner and director at one of the UK’s largest planning consultancies, where he specialises in the development of visitor attractions, acting for numerous operators of theme parks, zoos and other attractions.