Published: 00:01, 14 December 2017
Theme park developers spent more than £10 million last year on plans for a £3.2 billion tourist attraction in Kent as delays continue to affect the project.
A leaked email has revealed bosses have pushed back the unveiling of their updated proposals yet again.
The team behind the London Resort, formerly known as London Paramount, will no longer show off plans to the public in the first three months of next year.
The public consultation on the theme park, expected to create more than 27,000 jobs, will instead happen in the second quarter of the year, more than a year after it was orignally planned.
It comes as latest accounts filed at Companies House show London Resort Company Holdings, the firm behind the project, made operating losses of £10.2 million in 2016.
It brings the total confirmed spending on the theme park plans, backed by the Kuwaiti owner of Ebbsfleet United Football Club, to about £45 million since it was revealed in 2012.
The accounts also reveal the company spent £337,500 on the salaries of its four staff.
Developers insist the delay to the public consultation has no affect on the proposed opening date in 2023 – which was pushed back for a fourth time in July.
This was after Paramount Pictures controversially parted ways with the project in June, as revealed exclusively by the KM Group.
A planning application will be submitted to ministers “later in the year” according to an email sent by the project’s chief executive Humphrey Percy to local businesses.
He blamed the delay on “new considerations and opportunities” which meant “workstreams have not had a consistent pace”.
He said: “As we continue to design, refine and develop the London Resort, it requires incredible commitment and careful consideration at a detailed level from ourselves, our local authority colleagues and statutory consultees and eventually the community.
“We have therefore revised our programme and will no longer be consulting in Q1 of 2018. All major projects are years in the making and the London Resort is no different.”
The email was sent to Peninsula Management Group (PMG), which represents more than 100 small businesses and landowners on Northfleet Industrial Estate, the Kent Kraft Estate and the Manor Way Business Park.
All the sites are on land needed for the resort on the Swanscombe Peninsula between Gravesend and Dartford.
Spokesman Dan Bramwell expressed concerns the park’s developers have “yet to get to grips with securing the land they require on the industrial estates”.
He said: “They have always said they want to work with PMG but progress has been pitifully slow and little progress made mainly because they haven’t any funds to commit to securing business deals.
“It is now very evident that they are pursuing a route to acquire the estates through compulsory acquisition which could lead to the extinguishment of many businesses with major job losses.”
London Resort Company Holdings spokesman Andy Martin said: “We are very pleased with progress with many landowners and businesses.
“We met with PMG members just last month to discuss preferential terms and details of option agreements and eventual purchase prices.
“We are keen to get these into place as we prepare our application as this approach, as opposed to compulsory purchase, is better for all concerned.”