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Home Kent News Article
by Alan Watkins and business editor Trevor Sturgess
Hollywood film giant Paramount is to create 27,000 jobs with one of the world's biggest theme parks in north Kent.
The massive £2billion project is set to transform the Swanscombe peninsula, between Gravesend and Dartford, into an international tourist destination.
The entertainment complex will feature Europe's largest indoor water park, theatres, live music venues, attractions, cinemas, restaurants, event space and hotels.
It could take Paramount 18 months to get planning permission for the large-scale project, with the theme park due to open in 2018.
Derelict land next to the Ebbsfleet International station has been chosen for the huge project, on the same scale "as Disney".
It means visitors will step off the train and immediately be inside the complex - twice the size of the Olympic Park.
A consortium of top companies has been developing the plans and working with Dartford and Gravesham councils for a year.
In a joint statement, Dartford leader Jeremy Kite and Gravesham leader John Burden said: "This development represents a tremendous economic growth opportunity for the region."
Development firm London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) has been set up to spearhead the project and has signed a deal with Paramount Licensing Inc, the licensing division for the Hollywood-based Paramount Pictures.
Tony Sefton, project leader for LRCH, said: "Our vision is to create a world class entertainment destination, the first of its kind in the UK.
"We are at the start of a long journey, but have been encouraged by the support and buy-in we have had to date."
The complex is set to give a massive boost to tourism and inject millions of pounds into the local economy while the jobs will be welcomed in an area of relatively high youth unemployment.
The ambitious proposal will transform the Swanscombe peninsula, which stretches from Ingress Park to the Ebbsfleet United football ground at Northfleet.
It involves Paramount Pictures, London and Continental Railways, the BBC and ITV, and a host of other organisations. The plans have been put together by LRCH.
The 872-acre development has the backing of the landowner, Lafarge Cement.
Until now, the area has been the subject of a series of half-hearted housing proposals within the Thames Gateway.
Revived ideas include plans for a cruise terminal to be built at deep water moorings at Northfleet, close to the park.
"We already have Eastern Quarry going ahead, and the expansion of Bluewater, which will also bring in much needed jobs for the area."It is an exciting time for the area."He said getting the infrastructure right was going to be key to the development.
The complex will see 17,000 jobs created at the park, with another 10,000 among suppliers and service organisations.
The plan also includes proposals to raise the land and tackle flood risks along the waterfront.
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