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Two Billion Pound Theme Park Planned For Kent
This CG artist's impression was sent out to represent the planned theme park.
A park to rival Disneyland Paris looks set to be built in Kent.
The development, which will cost an estimated two billion pounds, is to be located on the Swanscombe Peninsula, which is near Dartford up towards the North-West of Kent.
The completed theme park has been granted permission to use the name of Paramount Studios, and will feature large scale big budget rides alongside an impressive-looking water park.
Currently, the company behind the theme park (London Resort Company Holdings) are touring Kent in an attempt to persuade the people of Kent that their development is a good idea.
They are going to tour Swanscombe and the surrounding area, including Gravesend, in an attempt to generate publicity and support for the development.
Planning Theme Park Success
The project is not new, as such. It was first announced back in 2012, and since then has grown in importance. It is known either as Paramount Kent, London Paramount Entertainment Resort, or as Paramount London, as although it is in Kent it is also close to the city of London.
In 2013, it hit a minor roadblock in the form of a colony of distinguished jumping spiders. Amusing as the concept of distinguished jumping spiders might be to us, it was less amusing to the developers when it was reported in the national press as a potential obstacle to completion. We've touched on the issue of animals obstructing the ordinary course of development before, and why there are generally good reasons for conservation besides the fact that it's against the law to disturb or damage their habitats.
The planned theme park is currently in the news because the government has recently announced that it is a project of national importance, greatly improving its chances of making its way through the planning application process.
The official term for the project's status is Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project Status, and reflects a belief that the project will have an economic impact stretching outside Kent.
There is not much opposition to the scheme at present (after all, it is in a very early stage), but the opposition that does exist seems to centre around cynicism about the seasonal nature of jobs created. Seasonal unemployment is, after all, a hot topic in other Kent destinations such as Thanet.
Some sources have tied the theme park to garden cities, arguing that the presence of proposed garden cities nearby increases the likelihood that the park will go ahead.
Paramount Park is expected to take up eight hundred and seventy two acres of space, and create as many as twenty seven thousand jobs. It will arrive in 2019 if current estimates are accurate.
Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects
Nationally significant infrastructure projects have access to a fast track through the planning application process. It doesn't necessarily mean that they will have a pain-free ride through the process, but it does mean that they will find the process significantly easier.
It's extremely unlikely that such a project will end up being cancelled or significantly delayed, making the theme park's arrival in 2019 fairly certain.
Nationally significant infrastructure projects are defined by the Planning Act of 2008, and are usually buildings such as power plants and the like. For stadia and other buildings for entertainment purposes to be defined as nationally significant infrastructure projects is relatively unusual. They must meet certain criteria relating to size, economic impact, and growth in order to be classified as such.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Although it's very exciting to see a theme park planned for us here in Kent, the scheme is not without its detractors.
The natural comparison is with other aspects of Kentish infrastructure, for example the roads around nearby Dartford which are often congested, or the controversy over the Lydd and Manston airport developments.
What do you think? Do you welcome these changes or are you more wary? We'd be interested to hear your thoughts on Twitter at @planning_lawyer.