Published: 17:00, 27 July 2017
| Updated: 17:51, 27 July 2017
The company behind plans to build a giant theme park in Kent has pushed back its expected opening date to 2023.
London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH), which first revealed plans for the £3.2 billion project in 2012, had said the shock revelation last month that it had cut ties with Hollywood giants Paramount would not affect its goal to submit a planning application in November.
But now the developer has said a final round of public consultation - which was expected later this year - will happen in early 2018, with the planning application for the theme park on the Swanscombe Peninsula submitted in the spring.
The change of plan has put back the scheduled opening date of the resort for a fourth time to 2023.
It was originally scheduled to open in 2019.
Bosses of companies on the resort site, which are in talks about compensation with LRCH, said the delay "does not help the Northfleet and Swanscombe businesses who are looking to expand and move forward."
Humphrey Percy, chief executive of LRCH, said: “This final round of consultation will be a crucial step towards completing our plans for the world class entertainment resort.
"We have subjected our project to considerable rigour in recent months, transformed it, and in turn are creating an inspirational and deliverable scheme.
"We are encouraged that industry experts have fully endorsed our decision to pursue a multi-IP, two gate strategy."
Mr Percy added that LRCH was "delighted" with progress on other partnership agreements.
He said: "We plan to build over 3,500 hotel rooms, operated by our new partner, Intercontinental Hotel Group; constructing the majority of the resort and new roads and infrastructure with materials stored at and transported from Port of Tilbury, with whom we have recently signed an agreement.
"We are now in very detailed commercial negotiations regarding partners, the concepts they are embracing and some of the incredible creative propositions."
Mr Percy continued: “We are encouraged and supported by our local authority partners to take the time to get this right; we have listened to our stakeholders and will now be consulting the public early in 2018 and submitting the development consent order application in spring of 2018.
"Our grand opening date is planned for 2023.
“The London Resort is a first for the UK. Not just because we are the first business and commercial Nationally Significant Infrastructure project, but more than that, together we are creating a global entertainment resort without parallel in this country, propelling us into the top ten theme park resorts in the world."
He added: "We are combining an investment of £3.2bn, just 17 minutes from the top tourist City destination in the world, alongside globally recognised brands, stories and characters from the world of television, film, books and games.”
Dan Bramwell, spokesman for Peninsula Management Group, which represents 140 businesses on the proposed site of the resort, said: "There are no surprises as they have failed to make any real progress since the last delay.
"This must bring into question the effectiveness of private sector nationally significant infrastructure projects, as there is no deadline for any submission.
"Whereas they have announced a further delay, it would not be surprising if there is yet another further delay which does not help the Northfleet and Swanscombe businesses who are looking to expand and move forward."