It was billed as the UK’s answer to Disney World. With their options limited to just Legoland and Alton Towers (still good, let’s be honest), families from across the country were promised a £2.5 billion theme park in north Kent. But plans for an entertainment resort to rival Mickey Mouse’s have now been scrapped – at least for now.
The park was supposed to be built on the Swanscombe peninsula, but the group behind the London Resort says that changes to the Essex ports of Tilbury and Grays mean this is no longer possible. It was first touted as an idea more than a decade ago, and was meant to be full of rides linked to ITV, the BBC and Paramount Studios productions.
But the story might be a bit more complicated than just those changes to the ports. It just so happens that last year, the area was also declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the national importance of its wildlife and geology. As a result, the group purchased more nearby land and pledged to spend £150 million on ‘environmental improvements’.
Jamie Robins, of conservation group Buglife, told the BBC: ‘Now that the application has been withdrawn, we have to make sure that the proposals never come forward again and the site can be kept for nature. We are in a biodiversity crisis and we have to protect our best remaining wildlife sites.’ The charity said the site is home to 1,700 species of spiders and invertebrates – with 200 of those being conservation priorities.
London Resort, though, is resolute. It said a new application would be made ‘this calendar year’. So if you prefer plastic creatures to real-life wildlife, keep your fingers crossed.
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