The $3.6 billion Kuwaiti-owned Paramount-branded theme park set to be built in Kent, in Southern England and due to open in 2020, was given a ringing endorsement by local residents in the latest round of public consultations.
London Paramount Entertainment Resort, which was launched in October 2012 and will be located on an 872-acre brownfield site on Kent’s Swanscombe peninsula, just 17 minutes on the train from Central London, is due to start construction in autumn 2016.
Kuwaiti European Holding (KEH) Group bought operating company London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) two years ago and has been financing the plans ever since.
Earlier this year, between April and May, 3,425 people attended public consultation events and 731 people then filled in feedback forms and it was found that 77 percent of those who participated said they thought the plans will would benefit the area, LRCH has revealed.
Fenlon Dunphy, from LRCH, told The Reporter newspaper: “We were heartened to see so many people take the time to contribute to the consultation. We are hugely excited about the proposition, and are delighted to discover this perspective is shared by the majority of local people. Over the past year we have seen a huge amount of interest from those looking to provide services to the resort, and we hope that local businesses wishing to register their interest will continue to get in touch.”
The project was designated as ‘Nationally Significant’ in May 2014 by the UK's Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Ahead of submitting for planning permission in winter 2016, LRCH is currently planning a fourth round of consultations with local residents and interest groups.
During the consultation events with the public, a new set of images and a large scale model of the theme resort were unveiled in April. The project is expected to attract around 15 million people a year, or around 50,000 a day, when it is up and running. It will include multiple zones, including Adventure Isle, Land of Legends, Cartoon Circus, Starfleet Command, Action Square, Port Paramount and Entertainment City.
In addition to 50 rides and attractions, it will include a 2,000 seat theatre with regular West End quality shows, 11,000 square metres of exhibition space showcasing the best of British inventions and brands, over 11,000 restaurant covers in a variety of food outlets, 15,000 sq m of retail space, a plaza area with regular live entertainment, a cinema and comedy venue, the largest indoor water park in Europe, 5,000 hotel bedrooms and a creative business space for British businesses.
The key source of inspiration for the resort is a licensing agreement with Paramount Licencing Inc, giving LRCH exclusive rights to use Paramount’s intellectual property in the UK, including films such as ‘The Godfather,’ ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ ‘Mission Impossible,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘The Italian Job’ and ‘Titanic.’
In addition, the company has signed a number of additional partnerships, including a deal with BBC Worldwide, giving the resort access to some of the British broadcaster’s most popular shows including ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Top Gear’ and ‘Sherlock’, which could all be turned into theme park rides and attractions for visiting fans.
In February, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Aardman Animations, one of the UK’s leading animation studios, and the producers behind a number of award-winning feature films and TV series including ‘Chicken Run’, ‘Pirates Band of Misfits’, the ‘Wallace and Gromit’ franchise and the ‘Shaun The Sheep’ TV series.
And in March LRCH announced that the British Film Institute (BFI) had joined the project to provide strategic cultural counsel. The BFI was set up in 1933 and it maintains the world’s largest film archive, containing more than 50,000 fiction films, over 100,000 non-fiction titles and around 625,000 television programmes.