The troubled plans for a £2.5 billion theme park near Dartford dubbed “the Kent Disneyland” have received another major setback.
The developers of the leisure and entertainment complex on the Swanscombe peninsula officially known as the London Resort said the proposals are being “significantly” scaled back because of environmental concerns.
Its chief executive, the former Millennium Dome boss PY Gerbeau is also stepping down after three years and two other directors are also leaving. He will continue to act and an adviser to London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH). Two other directors Alan Crane and Ahmed Al Aiban are also leaving.
Under the revised blueprint the park will no longer cover the whole of the 535 acre site but only parts of it. This follows Natural England’s decision to designate the land a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
It is the latest blow to the project. The original planning application was withdrawn in March after the Government classified Tilbury as a Freeport meaning its transport strategy had to be overhauled.
However LRCH said new scaled down plans would be worked up and submitted for review to the Planning Inspectorate next year.
Former Tory transport minister and London mayoral candidate Steve Norris, who chairs LRCH, said: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with LRCH for more than a decade now.
“Progress has not been easy or straightforward. We have faced a number of issues which have delayed us including a designation by Natural England as a SSSI, and being forced to revise our entire transport strategy.”.
However he insisted: “It will be funded, has a realistic and deliverable business plan and compelling partnerships with global brands. It’s time to move forward at pace with our new application.
“We have benefitted from a firstâ€ class team at the London Resort, but after this cumulative year, it’s time for a comprehensive reset and refocus.”
The original plan for the park had included two theme park gates, a water park, conference and convention center and e-Sports facility.
It had also proposed a “prehistoric nature reserve” with zip lines, archaeological digs and one of Europe’s fastest rollercoasters.