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London Resort theme park pushed back again

By Ed McConnell

A £3.2 billion theme park has been delayed yet again.

London Resort Company Holdings, the company behind the proposed tourist attraction, has confirmed its intention today to put back the submission of a planning application for land on the Swanscombe next year.

Nothing has been said about how this will affect its proposed opening date, which was put back for a fourth time last year to 2023.

The location of London Resort
The location of London Resort

If realised the site would create 27,000 jobs, welcome 15 million visitors a year and become Europe's biggest them park according to those behind it.

LRCH had been planning to consult to public on its plans this month ahead of a planning application being submitted at the end of the year, with an opening date set for 2023.

Humphrey Percy, (LRCH CEO) said: “We have reached a pivotal gateway stage in our application preparation. We believe it’s important to be clear about the challenge in the preparation and delivery of a project of this scale and complexity. It is fair to say that we did not sufficiently estimate the scope for ‘unknown’ issues to impact our programme. One example of which has been the significant changes in the way in which we must assess the transport implications and consequent environmental impacts.

“We have, to date, spent approximately £55m and, as is not unusual for a project of this scale, the pace of activity has varied. We know that many people are disappointed that we are revising our programme, but we cannot, nor should we seek, to shortcut proper process in our assessments simply to meet our self imposed deadlines. We are very much looking forward to progressing further with the project this year with the intention of submitting our application in 2019.”

London Resort was due to open in 2023
London Resort was due to open in 2023

The delay is the latest in a long line of set backs for LRCH and it was revealed last week that the £125 million A2 expansion scheme does not factor in the presence of the park, meaning the peninsula would be shut off if work was to go ahead.

This led Dan Bramwell, spokesman for the Peninsula Management Group which represents 140 businesses which would have to relocate to make way for the resort, to declare the project was "dead".

It is not yet confirmed what the delay means for the opening date, but even before the announcement members of PMG said the project's current status meant it would not be possible to open before 2026, three years later than scheduled.

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson said: “Dartford is losing patience with LRCH and its proposed theme park. This latest delay is just one in a series of postponements that has created uncertainty for the existing businesses on the Swanscombe Peninsula and makes LRCH look incapable of ever delivering this project.

“I have always felt the jobs that could come from a leisure facility on the peninsula would be very welcome but I have yet to see evidence of how the local area would cope with the extra people and vehicles it would bring.

“The concept of a theme park was initially welcomed by local people but this uncertainty is becoming intolerable.”

More in this week's Gravesend Messenger.

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