Published: 06:00, 03 June 2016
Plans for a future Paramount resort in Kent have been delayed as bosses confirm a planning application will be put off for another year.
The proposals were due to be submitted this summer, but now, another series of public meetings will take place as developers reconsider the route into the tourist attraction.
London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH), the developer behind the £3.2 billion plans, will show changes to its masterplan for the resort, set to attract 15 million people a year.
The changes to access come after a dispute with more than 140 business owners whose companies sit on land needed for the project near the Swanscombe Peninsula between Gravesend and Dartford.
The company has delayed meetings with Peninsula Management Group, which represents the firms on Northfleet Industrial Estate, Kraft Kent Estate and Manor Way Business Park.
The group has said 4,500 jobs could be lost from the area if businesses are forced to close or relocate, estimating compensation would cost £500 million.
Under its current proposals, the access route will connect with the A2 at Bean and run parallel with the high speed line through Ebbsfleet into the resort.
The new consultation will be the fifth stage of community events run by the resort’s developers, who say their plans will create 27,000 jobs.
London Paramount chief executive David Testa said: “We received a wealth of feedback at our consultations last year which, along with new information from further studies we have conducted in the area, has allowed us to refine our masterplan.
"We were always conscious that there was a need to share more detailed information in relation to transport and ecology and we’ve been working hard on those reports.”
LRCH blamed a “heavily front-loaded” process for the delay to its planning application, known as a development consent order, which will be sent directly to the Communities Secretary Greg Clark.
It said nearly all the detail must be assembled prior to submission rather than amassed or worked on as the scheme is considered.
Mr Testa added: “While we had hoped to have submitted an application by now, it is much more important to ensure the evidence base is robust and comprehensive to maximise the prospects of success, which means the preparation time is longer.”
LRCH insisted funds remained in place to take the project through the planning process. It is backed by Kuwaiti company KEH, owned by Ebbsfleet United chairman Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi.