Plans to build a long-awaited huge new theme park that has been dubbed the ‘UK’s Disneyland’ have taken a big step forward.
Designs for the £5 billion ’London Resort’ in Swanscombe, Kent, have been unveiled and people are being asked to have their say.
It would be the first park of its kind in Europe to be built from scratch since the opening of Disneyland Paris in 1992, and will cover an area roughly equivalent to 136 Wembley stadiums on a former cement works site next to the River Thames.
Two theme park areas are planned with rides influenced by big blockbuster films and TV shows made by partners including Paramount Pictures and the BBC. It will also feature a water park, conference venues, hotels and a shopping centre.
If all goes to plan the first parts of the park will be open by 2024, with the rest following by the end of the decade.
The project’s CEO, PY Gerbeau, said: ‘It will generate multi-billion-pound investment, thousands of jobs and will transform a largely brownfield site into one of the most exciting entertainment destinations in the world.’
Plans to build a park on the site were first mooted in 2012 but it has encountered various delays during development, including the discovery of a rare colony of jumping spiders in 2013.
The updated designs also feature areas for wildlife, signalling an ambition to become the ‘most sustainable’ major theme park in the world.
Organisers have talked up its ability to create jobs and bring investment to the area. Estimates say 9,000 people would be directly employed on the site and 20,000 jobs would be linked to it. This could rise to 17,000 and more than 35,000 respectively after 15 years.
Two ferry terminals and a riverside wharf would be built along with new roads, cycle paths and rail links as part of the project which has an estimated budget of around £5 billion.
It’s hoped that people would visit from around the world, boosting the economies of surrounding areas including Dartford, Gravesham and Thurrock, as well as wider Kent and Essex.
People are being invited to have their say on the plans as part of the latest consultation which runs until September 21.
Mr Gerbeau said they want to hear from local people who may be affected by the massive project as well as those from across the UK who may wish to visit in future.
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