Planning boost for theme park near Ebbsfleet

Marion Dakers
A PROPOSED theme park near Ebbsfleet has been deemed a project of national significance, allowing it to pass through the planning process more quickly.

The Paramount Pictures theme park on the Swanscombe Peninsula in Kent would be “important in driving growth in the economy”, said the Department for Communities and Local Government as it recommended fast-track planning for the scheme.

London Resort Company Holdings, the consortium hoping to build the 872-acre park by 2018, will submit its full planning application in April 2015. A decision typically takes around 15 months.

The £2bn theme park is thought to be the first leisure development to be granted national significance status since the coalition shook up the planning regime in 2011. The new rules have typically been used for power generation projects and major transport upgrades.

Dartford and Gravesham borough councils have already voiced support for the project, which the developer thinks will create up to 27,000 jobs.

The land earmarked for the park is near Ebbsfleet train station, an area that the government has committed to developing as a garden city to help ease London’s housing shortage.

Chancellor George Osborne said in March that he wants to spend £200m to support 15,000 new homes in Ebbsfleet. The plan was welcomed by London Resort Company, which counts Development Securities, Lafarge and Brookfield among its backers.