Plans are rapidly taking shape for a huge entertainment resort in north Kent, big enough to rival Disney World. It will create thousands of new jobs. But the downside is that another 14,000 cars a day could be heading for the area. Ben Kennedy reports on an exhibition at which the latest information was on display.
The £2 billion Paramount entertainment resort is expected to welcome 50,000 people through its doors every day, it has been revealed. Further light was shed on the details of the London Paramount Entertainment Resort at the second round of public exhibitions. Visitors were able to see drafts of the proposed new road system, plans for direct bus and rail links, and artistic impressions of what the park will look like. The entertainment complex will create 27,000 jobs and will be host to more than 50 exciting rides and attractions, all themed around famous films, television programmes, video games and other Paramount hits. What’s more, unlike the Disney World and Universal Studios, attractions based on movies by British production companies will sit alongside those based on Hollywood blockbusters. Attractions will include 12 major rides, signature entertainment shows and cultural events, water rides, family rides, and adrenaline rides. Boards displayed at the consultation meeting promised to make the resort, on Swanscombe Peninsula, “a world- class, global destination”, which is due to open in Easter 2020. Andy Martin, part of the London Paramount development team, said:
“It’s coming together really well. We are pleased with the response so far — it has been almost entirely good. As long as we get the infrastructure right, I think people are excited about it.”
Richard Hutchings, director of the William Sale Partnership, which is development consultant on the project, said that to avoid adding to already often chaotic traffic on the A2 on weekday mornings, Paramount London will not open until some time between 11am and noon – outside peak hours. He said:
“We have consulted with Kent County Council and Highways Agency on this. We are building a computer traffic model to simulate how London Paramount will affect the area, and what steps we can take to manage it effectively. This will model traffic over a very wide area to see what impact it will have. We are going to look at the area in much more detail before any work starts. I need to ensure the plans we submit next August are bullet-proof. We only get one shot at it.”
About 50,000 visitors are expected to pass through the gates of London Paramount every day — a total of 15 million a year – but Mr Hutchings said they are preparing for 70,000 visitors a day when designing the road system. The amount of cars travelling in the area is expected to increase by 12,000 to 14,000 per day — an increase of 12% on current figures, according to Mr Hutchings. The resort is the first “business or commercial project” to be considered as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.
A plan for transport and access to London Paramount was detailed at the exhibition in preparation for about 14,000 extra cars which are expected to travel on surrounding roads. In an effort to minimise impact on the local network, including the A2 which already sees 148,000 vehicles every day, London Resort Company Holdings has designed a new Infrastructure, including:
- A single point of access for all Paramount entertainment resort car traffic
- A new dedicated entertainment resort slip road off the A2
- A new fly-over exit route across the A2 to merge with the existing slip road
- Use of existing A2 slip roads that filter on to a new gyratory, replacing the current double roundabout
- An alternative route will be provided for service and emergency vehicles
London Resort Company Holdings said it is “carrying out a full range of transport studies to properly understand how our proposals wdl affect traffic flows”. A train service is due to run from Ebbsfleet international Station to the park, and a fast-track bus route will also ship tourists in and out. There are plans to incorporate river transport into the plans. There is a target of 5% of visitors coming in via a boat on the River Thames. Up to 10.000 parking spaces are said to be provided at the resort, with another 4,000 created for staff.
Herne Bay Gazette, November 20th 2014