Will there be a Disneyland in the UK? London Resort 2024 plans explained - what has MP said?
The resort was set to be one of the most ambitious new theme parks in Europe since Disneyland Paris opened in 1992
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Plans for a theme park, dubbed the ‘UK’s Disneyland’ are “dead in the water” and it is more likely the site’s future is “as a nature reserve”, a Dartford MP said.
According to Gareth Johnson, he believes the plans will no longer go ahead after Natural England declared the proposed site a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 2021.
Natural England cited the presence of rare species including the tiny 1 cm jumping spider which “in my eyes has ended the possibility of a theme park”, MP Mr Johnson told the Sun.
It has also emerged that the company behind the project, London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH), has called in financial administrators after racking up £100 million of debt and will now enter a financial restructure through a Company Voluntary Administration (CVA).
LRCH insists the project is still ongoing and new proposals for the development will be submitted later in 2023.
TheLondon Resort was set to be a two-park resort with hopes of the first to open in 2024 and the second set in 2029.
First announced in 2021, it was the most ambitious new attraction in Europe since Disneyland Paris in 1992. The park was set to be three times larger than any other in the UK spanning across 535 acres - the equivalent of 136 Wembley stadiums.
The Resort was set to be split into six different themed lands including The Woods, The Kingdom, and The Studios, with a water park, three hotels and a shopping district. It also included a futuristic 23rd-century zone full of aliens and science fiction rides.
The London Resort project had originally struck a deal with Hollywood film studios Paramount Pictures, with the attraction named London Paramount. But in 2017 Hollywood studio revealed it would no longer lend its name to the attraction after the resort’s developers and the studio were left unable to agree terms on some of the rights to major films, including the image rights for some of their top stars.
Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations quietly walked away from the theme park while both the BBC and ITV also pulled the plug on their involvement after increased scrutiny from environmental campaigners.
They had previously lent image rights which would have seen rides named after hit brands such as Thunderbirds and Sherlock Holmes.
Dartford MP Mr Johnson also withdrew his support explaining to KentOnline "I’m not a tree hugging hippy but it would make no sense to concrete it over”.
The London Resort’s opening date has been delayed four times, but the park’s CEO PY Gerbeau has previously said “the London Resort is going ahead, as planned."
He added: “We will be the first theme park across Europe, to be built from scratch in nearly 30 years. We will be one of the only operationally carbon neutral parks in the world.”
“And with our investment in sustainability and the environment, we will be a beacon of what can be achieved when the environment, commerce and entertainment flourish together, hand in hand.”