On Monday, plans for the £5bn mega theme park in Swanscombe, the London Resort, were revealed, and people have been getting in touch about the controversial project in their numbers.
The massive proposed resort seems like the stuff of dreams to many of us thrill-seekers, and has pledged to create as many as 30,000 jobs in its first full year, but a large number of local people are less than pleased.
The dual theme park, billed as the UK’s answer to Disneyland, promises much, including a resort three times the size of any other in the UK, film-themed rides, a water park and massive hotels.
The official public consultation was launched this week, inviting people to have their say on the resort ahead of a proposed opening in 2024, but progress has been far from smooth.
Dozens of people have also been in touch with the News Shopper, voicing angry complaints about the plans, others sharing excitement.
First announced in 2012, the London Resort was originally meant to open in 2019 but since then progress has been plagued by delays, sponsors pulling out and budget worries.
The newly released plans promise to deliver a “new vision” and global entertainment destination to the region, according to PY Gerbeau, the CEO, but the project has a long way to go to convince some people.
The main complaint from local residents seems to be traffic.
Already suffering from the Dartford Crossing and Bluewater, traffic is already a major frustration in the area and people worry this will only worsen when a major theme park opens right in the middle.
One resident wrote: “The volume of traffic on the A2 and M25 is already horrendous. The proposed resort will have a horrendous impact on the area.”
Others said the road system already couldn’t cope as it is, and any new additions will leave the area in a “virtual standstill.”
“I live next door, and the roads will never cope,” one person added.
“An accident or breakdown on the A2 or M25 can leave us gridlocked for hours.”
Pollution was also raised as a major complaint.
One person commented that the already girdlocked area will be hit by even more air and noise pollution when people from across the world flock to Swanscombe.
“Dartford is already Kent’s most polluted town, and the borough has a very high rate of people that suffer from respiratory disease.
“It will be a disaster for the local area.”
Despite their worries, lots of people said they couldn’t wait for Dartford to be home to such an exciting destination.
One eager local said: “This would be amazing, get it built ASAP!” Another added that house prices in the area would rocket, as well as providing a boost to local shops and the local economy.
The developers behind the London Resort say the park will create 9,000 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect ones within the first year of opening, nearly doubling after 15 years.
Many local residents quoted the economical benefits, with “lots of jobs and new customers a lovely idea.”
One person explained: “It will be excellent. Yes there are some negatives, but the positives brought to the local area will far outweight them.
“Post-Codi-19, this will be wonders for our economy and encourage people to holiday here, plus creating thousands of jobs. Bring it on.”
The developers say the park will bring a multi-billion investment into the UK economy, and will create a ‘green network of amenity areas and parkland’ to benefit the local environment.
It will be around 70% under cover to cope with British weather, and provide a whopping 3,500 hotel rooms, as well as ferry terminals and new walking and cycling routes.
The actual resort will be split into two theme parks, and will include themed rides and attractions from a number of iconic films, e-Sports, a water park and convention venue, hotels, retail and dining at a cost of just £5bn.
Despite excitement for the plans, many of the sceptics pointed out that this had been ‘in the works’ for nearly 10 years now.
“It’ll never happen,” said one resident, and another said they were “sick of hearing about the plans” without any conrete progress.
The public consultation on the plans is currently open, and people who want to voice their opinions directly to the developrs are being actively encouraged to get in touch.