A massive £2 billion "Disney-style" entertainment centre - hailed as Britain's next major regeneration after the Olympics with 27,000 jobs - was earmarked today for what was once Europe's biggest cement works.
A consortium of leading British and international companies wants to build a world-class fun and leisure destination on the Swanscombe Peninsula in north Kent. They claimed it would be the first of its kind in the world.
Local residents were still trying to take in the news yesterday. Local Dartford and Gravesham councils welcomed the project and said they were both "delighted" but talks were ongoing.
The Hollywood-style theme park will rival Disneyland Paris and will transform the 872-acre brownfield site, which was the site of the huge Swanscombe Cement Works until 1993, into one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe.
It will feature Europe's largest indoor water park, theatres, live music venues, attractions, cinemas, restaurants, event space and hotels and, if given the go-ahead, will be twice the size of the Olympic site.
It should open in 2018. Previously, Swanscombe town was well-known as the site where the remains of the 250,000-year-old "Swanscombe Man" were found - although they are now thought to be a woman.
The site is on the doorstep of Ebbsfleet International railway station, which will provide a 17-minute journey time into London and two hours to Paris.
Development vehicle London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) has signed an agreement with the licensing division of Paramount Pictures, Hollywood's oldest studio.
It has assembled a team including Development Securities plc, the principal land owner French cement maker Lafarge and Canadian-based super-scale construction company Brookfield Multiplex.
LRCH project leader Tony Sefton said: "Over the next 12-18 months we will be progressing the planning application, while embarking on a wide-reaching programme of community consultation and securing further commercial agreements with third parties."
Dartford Borough Council leader Jeremy Kite and Gravesham Borough Council leader John Burden said: "This development represents a tremendous economic growth opportunity for the region."
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