The London Resort, one of the most ambitious projects in Europe, released some initial results and feedback from its public consultations. With the final round of consultations taking place online, further details were released about how this largely brownfield, former industrial site, will be transformed into one of the most exciting destinations in the world. The following press release was published by the Resort along with an exciting new concept image showing the project at night, providing a more detailed look at the individual areas of the theme park and surrounding infrastructure.
73% of people said they supported the London Resort’s approach to the environment and biodiversity, with 51% strongly supporting it. 74% were in support of the approach to sustainability and 65% agreed that the London Resort will benefit the local area in the longer term.
The consultation, which lasted eight weeks, reached over 120,000 members of the public including 105,000 leaflets sent to areas of Gravesham, Dartford and Thurrock. There were targeted press notices across regional, local and social media, digital advertising promoting the consultation and an email newsletter was sent to nearly 11,000 businesses and interested parties. Notification emails were also sent to MPs, local councillors and stakeholder organisations.
The consultation saw over 27,000 people visit the London Resort website. Over 800 people attended twenty public webinars, over 1,000 questions were asked and answered. An additional 17.5 hours of webinars were held with key stakeholders including local authorities, parish and town councils. To date, 1,200 public consultation responses have been analysed, with final checks now being undertaken, (a 65% increase on 2015’s Consultation).
The London Resort’s approach to sustainability, the environment and its approach to walkways and cycle routes were among the most strongly supported by the public:
- 73% supported the approach to the environment and biodiversity with 51% strongly supportive.
The approach includes proposing a series of habitat enhancements and management interventions to ensure that the unique mix of habitats can continue to support the rich bird, invertebrate, reptile and small mammal species that are currently using the site. It also includes leaving a large proportion of the peninsula undeveloped including Black Duck Marsh, Broadness Marsh and the Local Wildlife Site at Botany Marsh.
- 74% were in favour of the London Resort’s approach to sustainability with 55% showing strong support.
The approach includes a commitment to delivering a net gain in biodiversity. To help achieve this it will be enhancing land offsite to improve habitat and biodiversity in areas where land management practices have reduced the value of that land for wildlife.
- 76% supported the approach to walkways, cycle routes and public rights of way with 54% being in strong support.
The approach includes improving the recreational offering, in an area which has fairly limited access, for local people. New footpath routes are proposed that will allow enjoyment of the river and marsh landscape. It will include board walks in the marshes as well as bird hides to allow wildlife enthusiasts to spend time with minimised disturbance. The plans include careful management of pedestrian and cycle routes ensuring visitors have clear route guidance and the designation of ‘wildlife zones’ where the public will not have access at all.
“Sustainability is at the core of our vision,” commented PY Gerbeau, the London Resort’s CEO. “Through the consultation, people were able to digest hundreds of pages of the latest analysis and environmental studies. It was also, quite rightly, a topic which engendered a lot of questions. For three quarters of people to be in support of our plans is hugely rewarding; we would like to thank everyone who responded, we are taking all feedback very seriously.”
Another hot topic in the consultation was around traffic and how people will get in and out of the London Resort. 70% of respondents supported the approach to sustainable transport and minimising impacts on the road network (50% strongly in support). 80% were in support of keeping London Resort traffic separate from local traffic with 52% in strong support.
When asked the question at the end of the consultation, 16% of responses remained strongly opposed to the masterplan. Of the 64% who stated their support, more than double (44%) were strongly in favour.
To date, across the five consultations which have been staged since 2014, nearly 9,000 people have either attended events or webinars with a total of 1,931 feedback forms received.
“Getting to this point has not been easy,” continued PY. “But the public has responded overwhelmingly in favour and for that we are deeply grateful. We will go through all of the feedback and use it to help inform our approach and further develop our proposals. But there is no doubting, that our aim of creating one of the most exciting entertainment destinations in the world, here in the UK, has taken another big step towards becoming a reality. We now look forward to submitting our DCO application later this year.”
CONSULTATION RESPONSES INCLUDED:
“Joined the London Resort webinar today. I hope this happens. I am local and although a park on my doorstep is a dream, being suck (sic) on the A2 is painful, but impressed by the plans. Fingers crossed it gets the green light!” – CoasterTrek
“We recognise that a large-scale resort on the Swanscombe Peninsula could have very positive and transformative impact, particularly in terms of employment and supply chain opportunities and the injection of investment into the North Kent economy”. – Thames Gateway Kent Partnership
“Consultation webinars from the London Resort are an excellent way to engage directly with project team + pose your questions on any aspect of the plans, what would be the UK’s only ‘category 1’ leisure attraction & Europe’s largest since Euro Disney’s launch”. – Gravesham For Business
“The vision and ambitions of the London Resort align with the strategic aims and priorities of SELEP’s Economic Strategy Statement for a more productive and prosperous economy in which everyone has the opportunity to succeed. We welcome the ambition for London Resort to be a catalyst for jobs – supporting job creation, tourism and business growth – all of which are critical to support recovery and growth in the SELEP economy. In addition, we welcome the commitment to creating a resort founded on sustainable and low carbon principles and acknowledge that this now has a greater focus than in the original proposals”. – South East Local Enterprise Partnership
“KCC recognises the significant level of investment that London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) plans to commit to this project and is broadly supportive of the proposal that would potentially bring significant economic benefits both to the local area and more widely across Kent.
“The proposed resort would support the long-term commitment that the County Council has made to this area through the Thames Gateway Kent Partnership and the work of the Thames Estuary Production Corridor. The development would also support the plans of the more recently formed Thames Estuary Growth Board which aims to promote long-term transformation in the Thames Estuary and the Kent & Medway Employment Task Force launched this month which will have a major role to play in linking local businesses with people seeking employment.
“The proposed resort would not just provide employment opportunities but would also support skills development raising the aspirations of young people to improve their educational background and their career opportunities making them better qualified and more employable. A successful resort would raise the awareness of Kent to international and domestic tourists enabling the leisure, hospitality, tourism, and cultural heritage sectors to build on the offer that they already provide”. – Kent County Council
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