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What is Happening With The London Resort?

What is Happening With The London Resort?
09 February 2023

Proposals for a multi-billion pound theme park in North Kent that was due to open in 2024 have been scrapped – let’s take a look at why.


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The London Resort Proposal


The application for the London Resort was put forward to the government in late 2020, and confirmed the intent to develop two theme park gates, a waterpark, conference & convention centre and an e-Sports facility. Over 3,500 hotel rooms were to be created and two ferry terminals along with back-of-house facilities, a visitor centre and a new road from the A2. 

Construction of the two-park resort was set to begin in 2022, with its initial opening due for 2024, with additional parts of the park following in 2029.


Picture: a photograph of the proposed site showing one of the many parks, featuring a large castle. Image Credit: The London Resort.


Inspired by Disneyland Paris


The London Resort was a project inspired by Disneyland Paris, which opened in 1992. A report on the economic contribution of Disneyland Paris found that the attraction added €68 billion to the French economy in the 25 years since its opening. The attraction also made €13.7 billion in purchases, of which 70 per cent were made locally and 82 per cent were made within France.

On a site roughly the site of London’s Olympic Park, the resort was predicted to be one of the largest single-site employers in the UK, creating over 6,000 construction jobs and employing 8,700 employees by 2024, rising to over 17,000 by 2038.

In terms of sustainability, the site had goals of becoming the first operationally carbon-neutral theme park, with a green network of amenity areas and parkland to include areas of environmental enhancement and wildlife habitat creation beside the River Thames. EDF Energy, the UK's largest producer of low-carbon electricity, was set to partner with the resort. Once planning permission was granted, EDF was going to build, own and operate the onsite renewable energy generation and storage facilities for the London Resort, and enter into a 25-year renewable energy supply agreement to supply all of the park’s energy requirements.

BBC Studios and ITV Studios were reported to be involved with rides based on brands such as Thunderbirds, Doctor Who and Top Gear, although this was later withdrawn.


Swanscombe Peninsula


The London Resort theme park would have involved building over Swanscombe Peninsula, which was designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) in March 2021. This meant that the planning application needed “a substantial amount of additional environmental information.” This information was due to be submitted to The Examining Authority in September 2021, and again in March 202, but was delayed several times.

Wildlife groups opposed the project from the outset, as the construction of the park would have seen over 100 hectares of habitat concreted over. Dr Hilary Newport, CPRE Kent director, said: “This is a fragile and tranquil oasis of dark skies, open space and extraordinary natural biodiversity. It is all the more precious because of its location in one of those parts of the South East subject to the most intense development pressure. In the light of the crisis of the climate emergency and catastrophic loss of biodiversity we simply cannot risk the degradation and loss of this vitally important site.”


Planning Application Withdrawn and London Resort Boss Quits


In March 2022, the application for the London Resort with withdrawn. Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, CEO of the London Resort Company Holdings Ltd blamed complications arising from Tilbury as a Freeport which meant revisions were required in moving one of the ferry terminals from Tilbury to Grays. The statement also cited the Swanscombe Peninsula’s designation as an SSSI as having an impact on project development.

Pierre-Yves stated: “We have repeatedly petitioned for latitude, extensions of time and of course understanding from the Examining Authority and the Planning Inspectorate. Their teams have been extremely supportive, but we recognise that the best route for the Project is through withdrawal and resubmission of a fresh DCO application within this calendar year.

“We will continue our engagement with the local community, statutory bodies, landowners and others to make sure we can reach as many agreements as possible before resubmission. Make no mistake we are still 100 per cent committed to this amazing project and we will resubmit before the end of 2022 and look forward to delivering a world class entertainment resort – the UK deserves better and we will make it happen!”

Pierre-Yves has since resigned from his position, stepping down as CEO of the London Resort Company Holdings Ltd in December 2022.

Picture: a photograph of the proposed site from above. Image Credit: The London Resort.

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 09 February 2023


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