Company developing London Resort theme park plans on Swanscombe Peninsula call in adminstrators
Published: 18:27, 19 March 2023
Updated: 12:23, 20 March 2023
The company behind plans to develop a Disneyland-style theme park has called in financial administrators.
London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) is hoping to build the controversial £2.5 billion London Resort attraction on the Swanscombe Peninsula near Dartford.
A spokesman for LRCH confirmed adminstrators have been appointed after building up £100 million debts and the company will enter a period of financial restructuring through a Company Voluntary Administration (CVA).
They said this will enable the company to reorganise its creditors and aims to convert those owed money into shareholders "ensuring the long-term surety of the company".
The project remains ongoing and the spokesman added LRCH has "continued commitment to the delivery of jobs and regeneration" on the peninsula.
New proposals are being developed for resubmission to the Planning Inspectorate – the government's planning authority – later this year and work on those plans is continuing, the spokesman said.
Developers have faced problems in recent years after launching the scheme 12 years ago. A planning application was pulled last year after the land was granted special status to protect the abundance of nature and identifying it as an area of ecological importance.
The first planning application – known as a development consent order – was put forward in January 2021 after the project was granted as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project seven years earlier.
But when part of the development site was awarded Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) status last March, it meant the plans had to be adapted to fit in with updated guidelines relating to future development.
A spokesman for LRCH said: “LRCH has taken the logical and sensible step of launching the CVA proposal.
"We’ve spoken to many of our creditors who are very happy to support the initiative which would see their debts converted into shares.
“Many millions have been invested into the Swanscombe Peninsula over the last decade and there remains a fantastic opportunity to bring forward exciting proposals.
"This CVA process safeguards everyone’s position and provides an opportunity for a financial return to creditors in the long-term.”
The CVA will be handled by Antony Batty and Company LLP which is expected to contact companies and people owed money in the coming days.
In December, it was confirmed the plans for the resort and theme park had been "significantly" scaled back in a bid to "reset" and address environmental concerns.
Bosses said the designs would be changed and will no longer spread across the whole of the 535-acre wildlife site.
Instead, it will only factor in parts of it, taking into account Natural England’s decision to award it SSSI status.
LRCH chief executive PY Gerbeau also left the board as part of a wider reshuffle of the organisation following three years at the helm.
More by this authorMatt Leclere