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Report to be created by Gravesham council after Disney World trip

A report summarising the findings of a recent council trip to Florida will be produced to show fellow councillors the 'useful and detailed insights' gained.

The whistle-stop tour of three major theme parks in Florida by Gravesham councillors and council staff saw council leader John Burden head to Disney World, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando.

He was joined by planning boss Cllr Jane Cribbon and communities boss Cllr Andrea Webb on the transatlantic trip.

Their expedition, which cost about £15,500, is funded initially by the taxpayer and is expected to be recouped from the developer if and when the planning application is submitted.

The Disney store says it will have plenty of offers in time for Christmas. Picture: Disney World
The Disney store says it will have plenty of offers in time for Christmas. Picture: Disney World

A council spokesman said the delegation had a series of meetings with community leaders, businesses and operators of various sites looking at issues including job creation and retention, infrastructure and supply issues.

It also looked at the effects on local businesses, housing and transportation.

Kevin Burbidge, the council’s director of housing and regeneration, said: “This was an intensive series of meetings looking at a wide range of issues related to theme parks of the size proposed for Swanscombe.

"Members gained useful and detailed insights into the ways in which problems have been overcome and both the success and failures of various aspects of a development of this magnitude.

“As the process continues, we are sure that these insights will prove invaluable during the planning discussions going forward.”

Gravesham council Cllr John Burden
Gravesham council Cllr John Burden

Also on the trip was leader of the Tory opposition Cllr John Cubitt and Cllr Robin Theobald, the shadow planning boss.

They flew to Orlando on Saturday, April 19 and came back on April 23 - though Cllr Burden made an extra trip whilst in the USA to Virginia.

He joined Gravesham mayor Derek Sales and his wife Pam.

The trio were visiting Virginia as part of Gravesham’s twinning links with the area, taking part in the 150th anniversary celebrations of the American Civil War.

The Virginia trip was paid for from the Twinning Association budget and was understood to cost about £600, with the mayoress’ air fare paid for by the mayor.

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