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, sporting facilities, entertainment street, staff training academy, and accommodation comprising of approximately 5000 hotel rooms. 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 early 2018. If approved, it is anticipated that construction could begin in 2019, paving the way for a potential opening date during 2023.
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 the BBC and Aardman Animations, developers have a catalogue of intellectual properties to choose from which include Sherlock, Doctor Who, Shaun the Sheep, and Wallace and Gromit. 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, including a daily parade and an evening show featuring a 300 strong cast.
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 early 2018.
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 resort has been confirmed to feature several different themed areas, whilst very little is known at this stage the names have been released as part of the early consultation.
Rides & Attractions
Although it is not known exactly what types of rides and attractions will be included, current consultations 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 BBC Worldwide and Aardman Animations.
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.
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.
As part of the consultations, London Resort Company Holdings have released a number of plans and concept images relating to the resort giving us the first idea of what the development will look like once complete.