Published: 14:00, 09 November 2014
A new £2 billion Paramount-themed entertainment resort is expected to welcome 50,000 people through its doors every day, it has been revealed.
Further light was shed on the details of the London Paramount Entertainment Resort at the second round of public exhibitions, including drafts of the proposed new road system, plans for direct bus and rail links, and artistic impressions of what the park will look like.
But some who attended the meeting at Greenhithe Royal British Legion Club on expressed mixed feelings about the plans – with many worrying about the impact on traffic.
The entertainment complex, which will create 27,000 new jobs, will be host more than 50 rides and attractions, all themed around famous films, television programmes, video games and other Paramount hits.
Unlike Disney World and Universal Studios, attractions based on movies by British production companies will sit alongside those based on Hollywood blockbusters.
Attractions will include 12 rides, entertainment shows and cultural events. More details are due to be revealed over the next few years.
Boards displayed at the consultation meeting promised to make the resort “a world-class, global destination”, which is due to open in Easter 2020.
Andy Martin, part of the London Paramount development team, said: “It’s coming together really well. We are pleased with the response so far – it has been almost entirely good.
“As long as we get the infrastructure right, I think people are excited about it.”
The exhibition on Wednesday was packed full of residents checking out the new details and posing questions to the developers.
Michael Foley, 73, a retired construction worker from Ingress Park, said: “What are we going to do with all these extra people?
“If we are going to build it we need to have enough infrastructure for emergency services in place. How will our hospitals and fire services cope?
“With the influx of people from Europe, how do we know who is going to get the jobs that this created? A certain percentage of the jobs has to go to local people.
“Road systems in the area need improving before we get started on this.
“But overall, I think it is a good thing because of all the jobs it is going to bring.”
Steve Newton, 40, a builder from Waterstone Park in Greenhithe, was not reassured by the developer’s plans to improve the roads surrounding the site.
“Traffic is the main concern for me,” he said. “They are still looking into it. They’ve got ideas but where are the facts?
“They need to start looking into how this is going to affect roads around London and the wider area.
“They were saying about setting up a bus service but if people have got a car then they are going to drive there. It’s not realistic to assume that these people are going to travel by bus.
Richard Hutchings, director of the William Sale Partnership (WSP) who are development consultants on the project, said that to avoid adding to already often chaotic traffic on the A2 on weekday mornings, Paramount London would not open until between 11am and 12pm – outside of peak hours.
He said: “We have consulted with the KCC (Kent County Council) and Highways Agency on this.
“We are building a computer traffic model to simulate how London Paramount will affect the area, and what steps we can take to manage it effectively. This will model traffic over a very wide area to see what impact it will have.
“We are going to look at the area in much more detail before any work starts.
“I need to ensure the plans we submit next August are bullet-proof. We only get one shot at it.”
Around 50,000 visitors are expected to pass through the gates of London Paramount every day, which is 15 million a year. But Mr Hutchings said they are preparing for 70,000 visitors a day when designing the road system.
The amount of cars travelling in the area is expected to increase by 12,000 to 14,000 per day – an increase of 12% on current figures, according to Mr Hutchings.
However, some visitors had a more positive outlook on the plans. Tutu Ojuroye, from Ingress Park, said: “I think it is a good idea. It will bring a lot of employment to the area. It is a big piece of land so it is nice to know how the land is being utilised.
“There are no good West End-style theatres around here and nothing in terms of entertainment. So I think that it’s good that this isn’t just a theme park but an entertainment complex as well.”
The entertainment resort, to be built on the Swanscombe Peninsula, is the first “business or commercial project” to be considered as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).
This means that the government considers the project to be of national economic importance.