The Binding Option Agreement signed with Lafarge Tarmac means that the 388 acre area of land, known as the Swanscombe Peninsula, is now secured for the purposes of the new London Paramount Resort which is currently set to open around Easter 2020. A Binding Option Agreement is a contract between two parties where the current owner agrees to sell the land to the interested party once a certain event has taken place, or condition has been met. In the case of London Resort Company Holdings it is thought that the finalisation of the sale of the land is conditional on the development being given planning permission by the Secretary of State.
David Testa, Executive Director of LRCH said:
With this agreement in place, the vision for North Kent as the home of a nationally significant, multi-billion pound entertainment resort employing thousands of people is moving closer to becoming a reality. It further underlines our commitment to delivering the project and is welcome news as we continue to consult and engage with the local Dartford and Gravesham communities living near the site and more widely with our interested parties.
This latest deal follows the submission of a scoping report to the Secretary of State outlining the plans for the development in their current state. The response to this report will help the developers assess what they will need to focus on in the coming months before they submit a draft Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate this autumn.
Focusing mainly on the infrastructure requirements for the development, the scoping report does reveal some more small details regarding what we can expect to see from the project upon completion. The report provides some alternative names for the areas which will make up the entertainment resort: ‘Family’, ‘Action and Adventure’, ‘Comedy’, ‘Romance and Drama’ and ‘Classics’. In addition to the expected rides and attractions the report also states that every afternoon a parade, currently with the working title of ‘Paramount and Friends Carnival’, would take place within the resort followed by an evening show based around the same theme and featuring a 300 strong cast. It also states that the Water park will be based on Paramount films alongside other brands (currently the developers have an agreement with BBC Worldwide), a statement which is sure to create speculation as to which films could potentially be utilised for the purposes of the water park. The resort is also set to have an initial operational period of 25 years from the date of opening in 2020.
Whilst acknowledging that the report submitted includes a great level of detail, in their response the Secretary of State advises that the developers would be required to provide further information on a range of different areas. These include making sure the description of the proposed development is as firm as possible when submitted, although it is acknowledged that there may still be some ‘evolution of plans’ (something which could potentially suggest the final design may depend on the attractions developers are able to secure for the theme park). The developers will also be required to provide further information on the environmental impact of the development – including how the resort will affect the biodiversity of the area, transport and access arrangements – in particular how staff will utilise varying modes of transport to access the resort, and more specific information on the number of jobs to be created, the skills these jobs will require, the proportion of full/part time jobs, operational hours and shift patterns, and the areas from which the employees will be recruited from to help determine the social and economic impact and benefits to the local area.
It is expected that a number of these topics will be addressed during the next round of consultations due to take place this coming spring. Although exact details are yet to be announced the consultations are expected to take the form of a mix of information evenings and workshops on specific topics for both the general public and local businesses interested in contributing towards the project.
With London Paramount Entertainment Resort edging ever closer to becoming a reality, we’ll be continuing to bring you all the latest news as it happens. In the meantime why not discuss your thoughts on the project over on the Attraction Source Forum.