Published: 14:51, 22 July 2020
| Updated: 15:47, 22 July 2020
The mastermind behind plans for an ambitious billion-pound theme park in Kent has claimed thousands of jobs will be generated as a result of the work.
Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, who is leading the project which could see the £5 billion resort built on the Swanscombe Peninsula, Dartford, said the promise of job opportunities for people living locally should outweigh their potential doubts about the plans.
Mr Gerbeau said: "In terms of concerns for local businesses, we're creating 8,000 jobs from day one.
"We're creating 4,000 for construction workers, so hopefully there's a bigger picture and we're engaging with everybody, making sure whoever is not happy is going to be happy with the outcome."
The French businessman also said people in the county would be the first in line to be offered jobs at the resort.
He said: "The people of Kent need to be the first recipients for these jobs, and again if people come from outside the area we're building about 500 dwellings which we'll be putting in the DCO (Development Consent Order) to make sure they can afford to live, and we'll obviously help resource rent."
There are also plans to build partnerships with The University of Kent and other educational institutions to offer the opportunity to develop careers for graduates and others.
The entrepreneur said: "We're going to work with the four universities in Kent, we're already having a conversation - we're not giving jobs, we're creating career paths.
"If we create career paths, obviously people will remain with us for the long time, and might start with "non-skilled' work, but they could become a chef, an engineer, a security manager, entertainment producer.
"All these thousands of jobs we're creating will allow people to choose their own career paths."
Mr Gerbeau made the comments during the launch of Thames Estuary Growth Board's "The Green Blue" project.
The long-term investment plan hopes to support around 30 developments in the region, including the London Resort.
Kate Willard, chairman of the Thames Estuary Growth Board, said: "I absolutely know that there are plans to welcome visitors to London Resort by river."
Mr Gerbeau said visitors from the north would likely travel to the theme park via boat, from Tilbury Docks in Essex.
The plans would go some way to significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the planned development once up and running.
He said: "At least 60% of our entire traffic is going to be non-cars, and our ambition is to be net carbon neutral, which is a very high ambition.
"We're not going to be car-friendly in the long term, that's for sure."
The £5 billion resort would transform 535 acres into two theme parks, a water park, and 3,500 hotel rooms, providing development plans are given the green light.
First announced in 2012, the resort planners have hit many bumps along the road, but hope to be able to finally open in 2024.
If built, the theme park and entertainment resort would be larger than the UK's current largest theme park, Alton Towers.