New UK Theme Park To Rival Disneyland Paris

  @MarkJohansonIBT on October 09 2012 3:05 PM
Mickey and Minnie are pictured at the 20th anniversary celebrations of Disneyland Resort in Marne-la-Vallee, outside Paris
Saudi prince Fahd al-Saud spent $20 million at Disneyland Paris. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Disneyland Paris is currently Europe’s most popular tourist attraction, but a proposed £2 billion ($3.2bn) Paramount Pictures theme park in England hopes to change that when it opens in 2018.

The giant Hollywood-style park is slated for construction on 870 acres of derelict land on the Swanscombe peninsula in Kent. It would be situated next to Ebbsfleet International station, which is about 17 minutes by train from London St Pancras Station and about two hours from Paris on Eurostar.

Berkshire, England-based developers London Resort Company Holdings claims it will become one of the largest renewal projects in Europe, creating as many as 27,000 jobs and stimulating the local economy.

“Post Olympics, this is Britain’s next major regeneration opportunity,” said Tony Sefton, project leader for LRCH. “Over the next 12-18 months we will be progressing the planning application, while embarking on a wide-reaching program of community consultation, while securing further commercial agreements with third parties.”

Sefton said LRCH was “at the start of a long journey,” but he added that the consortium “has been encouraged by the support and buy-in” they’ve had to date.

Local leaders in Dartford and Gravesham said in a joint statement that the development project represents a “tremendous economic growth opportunity for the region.”

The Gravesham branch of environmental group Friends of the Earth, however, said it had concerns with the transportation plan and the issue of flooding, noting “it is a flood plain and therefore we need to keep as much of the green area as possible.” Other environmental groups have expressed concerns over potential damage to wildlife in the area.

The ambitious plans for Britain’s first branded leisure resort include roller coasters, theaters, hotels and restaurants on the “same scale as Disney.” It would also boast Europe’s “largest” single-site science and education visitor facility, “largest” indoor water park and “biggest” performing arts center.

Because of the development consortium’s licensing deal with Paramount Pictures, many Paramount movies like “Titanic,” “Braveheart” and “Transformers” will likely feature heavily in the design and be crucial to the park’s success.

A similar Paramount park set to open in Murcia, Spain, in 2015 will feature rides based on “Mission: Impossible,” “War Of The Worlds” and “Star Trek,” in addition to a Titanic Experience.

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