If given the green light, the development will transform an 872-acre brownfield site on the Swanscombe peninsula and be twice the size of the Olympic Park in East London. It will feature Europe’s largest indoor water park, theatres, live music venues, attractions, cinemas, restaurants, event space and hotels. Allied to the project will be a training academy for the entertainment and hospitality sectors, a new country park, a large science and education visitor complex and "the biggest performing arts centre in Europe". A name for the park has not yet been chosen.
The developer has said that the theme of the park will have an emphasis on Britain and Kent, however the attractions are likely to be based on films and entertainment properties owned by the licensee of the park's name, Paramount Pictures.
While the project has garnered considerable support in Kent, a commentary in the London Evening Standard in October 2012 called into question the commitment of some of the development partners, namely landowner Lafarge, builder Brookfield Construction and property company Development Securities. However on 10 December 2012 the project received a boost after securing the services of Chris Townsend, as its commercial director. Townsend performed the same role for Locog on behalf of the London 2012 Olympic Games and is charged with attracting investors for debt and equity funding.
The site straddles the border of the Dartford and Gravesham borough council administrative areas and both authorities have pledged their support. Over the next 12–18 months the major focus will be progressing the planning application, while embarking on a wide-reaching programme of community consultation. Further commercial agreements with third parties will be sought during this time.
The timetable for delivery, including the planning application process and construction timetable, is geared towards completion and opening in 2019. Planning permission may be granted in spring 2014.
The project leader is Tony Sefton of London Resort Company Holdings.
Infrastructure and Transport
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The proposed site is a short distance from Ebbsfleet International Station, which can be reached from St. Pancras station, London in 17 minutes and from Paris, France in two hours and five minutes, using the High Speed 1 (HS1) railway. A new monorail may take passengers from Ebbsfleet to the park.
It is presently unclear what changes to local infrastructure will be necessary to accommodate millions of additional visitors annually to North West Kent, though it is possible a planned new Thames road crossing will be routed across the peninsula, partly as a result of this development.
It is not known if the development will have an effect on plans for the proposed High Speed 2 (HS2) railway. The current plan is to construct a low-cost low-capacity link between a new station in west London to the Channel Tunnel high speed rail link (HS1), and not any further east, a decision taken because of low expectations of HS2 passenger numbers wishing to pass through the capital. Projections may be revised in light of likely visitor numbers to Paramount Kent alighting at Ebbsfleet.
Similarly, it is conceivable that Crossrail's route may be altered to run as far east as Hoo Junction, just beyond Gravesend, Kent; currently there are no firm plans to run trains beyond Abbey Wood in south east London. It is not known if the plans for Paramount Kent will create a viable case for Crossrail services to be extended to serve the park (in addition to the necessary overhead electrification works). The Hoo Peninsula is also one of the proposed Boris Island sites.
- "£2bn plan: Mission is possible". Kent Messenger Group.
- Bill, Peter. "A roller coaster ride for ‘Disney by the Thames’". Evening Standard.
- Beard, Matthew. "2012 Chief to head 'British Disneyland' bid". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 10/12/12.
- "Reaction to £2bn Paramount theme park for Kent". Kent Messenger Group.
- "Daily Mail". Retrieved 8 October 2012.