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Paramount Park developers reveal goal to begin construction in 2016 and open in summer 2019 as public exhibitions on plans open

By Chris Price

Construction of the proposed Paramount resort could get under way in the autumn of 2016 with an opening in the summer of 2019, it has been revealed.

Developers behind the £2billion scheme to transform the derelict Swanscombe Peninsula have outlined a proposed timetable for the project as the first informal phase of the public consultation gets under way today.

London Resort Company Holdings has growing confidence in its plans after gaining special government status bypassing local planning rules last month.

Graphic showing how the Paramount Park development on Swanscombe Peninsula might look

Full details of the entertainment project are expected to be unveiled in October when the first formal stage of the public consultation gets under way.

A series of public meetings are being held this month for people to tell developers how they want to receive information as the scheme progresses.

These are taking place at:

  • Ebbsfleet Academy (in the sports hall), Southfleet Road, Swanscombe, DA10 0BZ todayfrom 2pm to 8pm;
  • Eastgate (North Kent Community Church), 141 Springhead Parkway, Gravesend, DA11 8AD onFriday from 11am to 2pm
  • British Legion Greenhithe, London Road, Greenhithe, DA9 9EJ onFriday from 4.30pm to 8pm
  • Swanscombe Leisure Centre, Craylands Lane, Swanscombe, DA10 0LP onSaturday from noon to 5pm

Set to be named London Paramount Entertainment Resort, it is expected to create 27,000 jobs and will feature a water park, theme park, sporting facilities, an entertainment street, a staff training academy and about 5,000 hotel rooms.

Project leader Tony Sefton said: "We are committed to the consultation timetable.

"Come October, the next stage of exhibitions will be more detailed. Then the fun stuff starts to come out. The key message is 'it's coming'. It's happening now."

London Resort Company Holdings' Tony Sefton on the Swanscombe Peninsula

As well as being a tourist attraction, the resort also aims to create an Experience Valley.

It is hoped 200 new businesses could form a hub for the UK's creative industries there, in the style of Silicon Valley for digital companies in the United States.

This includes plans for more than 50 acres of commercial letting space and a 21,000sqm Creative Industry Hub.

It is expected there will be an annual reinvestment of £30m in the resort's core entertainment products, with a preference given to onsite and local suppliers.

About 100 people are working for London Resort Company Holdings on the project, mainly on a consultancy basis.

The theme park would be built on the Swanscombe Peninsula

That figure is "growing all the time" according to Mr Sefton.

London Resort Company Holdings is 75% owned by KEH, the Kuwaiti company which also owns Ebbsfleet United Football Club.

The company has a licencing agreement with Paramount Licencing Inc, giving it exclusive rights to use Paramount’s intellectual property in the UK as part of the resort.

The team is in discussions with the two main land owners on the Peninsula – Lafarge Tarmac and Land Securities – about acquiring the 700-acre area the resort would be built on.

KEH director Fenlon Dunphy said: "We are in active discussions with land owners which are progressing well. It’s going in the right direction."

London Resort Company Holdings have an exclusive agreement to use Paramount's intellectual property in the UK

The Paramount resort is expected to add between two and three million passengers a year to HS1, developers claim.

London Resort Company Holdings also believes the project will encourage between 200,000 and 300,000 customers onto water taxis up the River Thames.

They predict 15 million people will visit each year – including 15,000 to 17,000 staff daily – which has prompted big plans for transport infrastructure investment.

These include a monorail linking Ebbsfleet International with the resort.

"The infrastructure work on this is massive and it needs something of our size to complete it..." - KEH director Fenlon Dunphy

Project leader Tony Sefton wants the site to encourage visitors onto public transport and aims for it to have the "lowest modal mix" of car parking spaces of any resort of its kind in the world.

The team also believes the site will act as a "catalyst" for a new 15,000 home garden city at Ebbsfleet.

This could include a Paramount University at the Ebbsfleet Academy, preparing people for jobs in the area.

KEH director Fenlon Dunphy said: "Not a lot comes along on this scale. The infrastructure work on this is massive and it needs something of our size to complete it.

"We see ourselves as the catalyst to regeneration of the area as a garden city and we view the project as a cornerstone to that working."

Mr Sefton added: "We will provide all the fun stuff for the area. We will have a lot of sport and arts. It should be a great place to live."

The road to launching the London Paramount Entertainment Resort

May 2014 - Gains status as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, bypassing local planning requirements

June 2014 - Begins first phase of public consultation, asking residents and interested parties how they would like to be told about the plans

Autumn to winter 2014 - First stage of formal public consultation

Spring to summer 2015 - Second stage of formal public consultation

Summer 2015 - Apply for planning permission direct to central government, known as a development consent order

Summer 2015 to Summer 2016 - Detailed design work and procurement of contracts

Autumn 2016 - Decision by Secretary of State

Autumn 2016 to spring 2019 - Construction

Summer 2019 - Grand opening

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