Throughout the consultation and construction period SouthParks will be bringing you the latest news and developments on what is set to be one of the largest developments the UK leisure industry has ever seen. We’ve summarised what we know so far into this helpful guide and will be keeping it up to date with all the latest news and developments surrounding this exciting project.
Set to be located on the Swanscombe Peninsula in Kent, the proposed complex will feature a whole range of facilities including a theme park, water park, entertainment district, and hotel accommodation. Originally announced in October 2012, the project has been making steady progress towards the submission of a formal planning application which is currently expected to be submitted in 2020. If approved, it is anticipated that construction would begin shortly after development consent is granted, paving the way for a potential opening date during 2024.
Once completed, the proposed theme park will boast over 50 rides and attractions based upon popular film and television shows. With agreements in place with Paramount Pictures, BBC Worldwide, and ITV Studios, developers have a wide catalogue of intellectual properties to choose fromt. Developers have also formed a partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI) who will provide strategic input on how the project can best incorporate British film and talent into the new entertainment resort. The BFI will ensure that the UK’s film industry will play a central role across the resort’s attractions, building on already well-known brands, and helping British cinema reach new, international audiences. Set within a number of themed areas, so far developers have confirmed there will be up to twelve major rides, family rides, water rides, adrenaline rides, and signature entertainment shows and cultural events.
The London Resort will be the first European development of its kind to be built from scratch since the opening of Disneyland Paris in 1992 and is being billed as one of the most ambitious theme park projects ever in Europe. Eventually, it will become a two-park resort with the first gate opening in 2024, and the second gate opening within five years. It is anticipated that around 70% of the attractions will be undercover.
The project will bring significant benefits to the local area, regenerating a brownfield site twice the size of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and sustaining approximately 33,000 local jobs through both direct employment on site and via the supply chain associated with the resort. Developers have also promised substantial investment in the transport infrastructure surrounding the resort with a new 4 lane dual carriageway connecting the resort to the existing A2, and the introduction of transport options utilising the River Thames.
In May 2014 the project was given a significant boost, gaining special status as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) as a project that could have a ‘significant economic impact on a wider area than a single local authority’. This means that London Resort Company Holdings, the group behind the project, can apply directly to the Secretary of State for planning permission as opposed to the usual route through the local authority. It is anticipated that a full formal planning application will be submitted in 2020 following a final round of public consultation.
With predicted visitor figures of 15 million people a year, the new multi-billion pound development will represent significant competition for the current UK theme park and tourist attractions, in particular Merlin’s southern theme park resorts: Thorpe Park Resort, Chessington World of Adventures Resort and Legoland Windsor Resort. It is yet to be seen how the existing attractions will adapt to compete with this new addition.
The below plans were published with the Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report in June 2020. These show the logistics of The London Resort in finer detail, including development areas north and south of the peninsula. Two new images were published in July 2020 showing the view of the Resort from Pilgrims Way, and the arrival plaza and hotels.
Throughout the consultation and development of The London Resort various pieces of concept art have been released by London Resort Company Holdings. The most recent images were released at the start of December 2019 and also revealed the names of the six proposed lands which will make up phase one of the theme park.
Here are some of the concept images and site plans released during the earlier stages of the resort’s development, which have now been superseded by the above.
Very little is known about the wider resort but the consultation documents outline plans for a wide variety of ancillary facilities and attractions. The aim is to make London Entertainment Resort a destination for businesses, multi-day breaks and individual days and nights out maximising its potential target market.
Art house style cinema
Theatre hosting ‘West End quality’ shows
Wildlife habitat creation and environmental trails
Live Music Venue
Indoor event space capable of hosting exhibitions, conferences, music and sporting events.
Creative business space
As part of the Resort’s aim to combine the best of British with the glamour of Hollywood developers have partnered with a range of organisations to enable them to draw upon some of the most high profile and popular intellectual properties, as well as ensure that the key aims and values of the Resort are met. Agreements have also been made with other key industry partners to ensure the resort infrastructure meets both operational and guest requirements.
British Film Institute (BFI)
MBNA Thames Clippers
Radisson Hotel Group
Although it is not known exactly what types of rides and attractions will be included, previous consultations, as well as concept art released during December 2019, indicate the theme park will cater for as wide a range of people as possible, from young families right through to thrill seekers, as well as including rides which are fully accessible.
London Resort Company Holdings have formed a number of partnerships with high profile names in the film and television industry which will enable them to pick from a wide selection of popular Intellectual Properties to base their attractions on. Based on concept art, consultation documents, and partnerships agreed so so far, it is expected that the Resort will feature attractions based on brands from Paramount Pictures, BBC Worldwide and ITV Studios.
12 Major rides
Thrill & adrenaline rides
Signature entertainment shows
The resort has been confirmed to feature six themed lands. Details released during December 2019 provided the first details about the names and concepts for each of these areas.
Guests will enter The London resort via a grand plaza that will lead visitors and hotel guests through “the High Street” which will feature shops, hotels, a convention centre and a “first-class” water park.
The Studios will be where guests start their journey. A gritty, modern-day warehouse district, The Studios will practically roar with the exhilarating thrills of big blockbuster features, and feature a winning combination of explosive action, high-octane car chases and high stakes espionage.
The Woods will be an enchanted realm where the boundary between reality and fantasy dissolve and springtime reigns eternal. Both the young and young-at-heart will be invited to step through the pages of a storybook and embark on an adventure which puts a fresh spin on fables and fairy tales.
From The Woods, guests’ journey will continue into The Kingdom, a realm of swords, sorcery, dragons and legend. A place where England is a dark and ancient land, a place of threatening and imposing castles and mystical Arthurian legends.
A land of giant creatures, mythical beasts and adventures at the crossroads of imaginations and reality await in The Isles. Jaw dropping architecture will combine with magnificent rides and 21st century technology.
The past starts to blend with the future in The Jungle. Ancient ruins of a long-lost civilisation are seen pushing up through the treetops. An overgrown environment, full of ancient secrets, strange mystical artefact and surprising discoveries will be transported to the present by inquisitive explorers.
Dedicated to futuristic experiences, alien encounters, and big thrill rides, The Starport is the final of the six lands. A bustling 23rd century landing zone, it will launch visitors into thrilling science-fiction adventures, leaving them mesmerised at things that should be impossible but are not.