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. An overview image of the Resort at night was published in October 2020, revealing further details of the individual areas of the attraction.