Currently scheduled to open in 2021, the £3.2 billion project was due to submit plans to the Secretary of State this summer. However, it has now been confirmed that plans for the Resort, which have been designated a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project to help simplify the planning process, will now not be submitted until the second quarter of 2017 – a delay of at least 12 months. Although London Resort Company Holdings, the developers behind the project, have stated that the latest delays so not necessarily mean the 2021 opening would be delayed there are now significant doubts around their ability to meet this target.
Speaking about the changes to the development timetable, Steven Norris, Chairman of London Resort Company Holdings, said:
“Very straightforwardly, we do regular appraisals to make sure that when we’re entering pretty new territory, which is what London Paramount is, we’ve got everything right,” said Norris. “And as a result of that, we’ve adjusted our plan.
We would be relaxed about it if it did extend [the opening date] slightly because with a project like this, it is a one of a kind. There are no comparables like there would be with an office or residential development.”
By choosing to take the development through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) route, which bypasses the usual local authority planning departments, the developers are required to undertake a significant amount of pre-application work. Speaking about this, Mr Norris added: “When you’re doing an NSIP, it’s a more complex proposition. You have to do a huge amount of work before you submit and that’s something that I think people have forgotten.” The London Paramount project has already undertaken four rounds of public consultation, the most recent being concluded in May 2015. Interested parties were informed in December last year (2015) that there would be a further stage of public consultation with further information released in early 2016, however as yet there is yet to be any details released about this latest proposed stage of consultation.
These latest delays will come as a disappointment to many local businesses who currently occupy some of the land on which the proposed Entertainment Resort will be constructed. Many have recently expressed concerns regarding the project and what they perceive as a lack of information or meaningful negotiations with developers leaving them unable to make decisions on future investments for their businesses with several reluctant to put additional funds into sites they may be forced to move from should the project be given the go ahead. Some businesses have attempted to look at the positive side of the delays, with Dan Bramwell, spokesman for the Peninsular Management Group (a lobbying body representing local businesses affected by the project), stating that “the delay offers a good opportunity for LRCH to work with us to reach a mutually agreeable position whereby both parties can move forward working together to protect their interests.”
This is not the first time the London Paramount Entertainment Resort has experienced delays with the project’s completion date having been postponed twice before. Originally, developers hoped to submit the Development Consent Order for approval in autumn 2015, however this was revised to a submission date of mid 2016 in September last year. In autumn 2014, it was announced that the anticipated opening of the resort had been moved back to Easter 2020 from summer 2019 as a result of a reassessment of the feasibility of the original timescale of the project. In September 2015 the project was delayed once again with the announcement that the projected opening would be moved back to Spring 2021, a total delay of 2 years from the original plans.
What are your thoughts on these latest delays for the London Paramount Entertainment Resort? Do you think we’ll still see the project opening in 2021, or will there be a further delay to this proposed date? Have your say over on the Attraction Source Forum. We’ll continue to cover the London Paramount Project in full so make sure you keep an eye out for all the latest news.