Blow for £3.5bn ‘British Disneyland’ theme park in Kent as developers are forced to call in administrators over £100m debts
- London Resort Company first revealed plans to build £3.5bn theme park in 2019
A giant theme park dubbed ‘the UK’s Disneyland’ has had to call in administrators after running up huge debts.
The London Resort Company first revealed plans to build a £3.5billion theme park on 535 acres of former industrial land on the Swanscombe Peninsula near Dartford back in 2019.
It was set to feature 50 rides and attractions, including eight huge roller coasters and different zones containing medieval castles and an Aztec pyramid, together with a 2,000-seat theatre and nightclub.
But the site has run into a raft of problems, including Natural England’s decision to designate the land as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) following the discovery of rare species including a 1cm jumping spider.
A second complication was a new freeport at Tilbury which meant moving one of the ferry terminals from Tilbury to Grays.
The park, which will be based in Kent between Gravesend and Dartford on the Swanscombe Peninsula, was set to open in 2024
The site has run into a raft of problems, including Natural England’s decision to designate the land as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
The plans were withdrawn last year, with the site set to be substantially shrunk.
Yet it’s now emerged that the company behind the project, London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH), has called in financial administrators after racking up £100million of debt.
It will now enter a financial restructure through a Company Voluntary Administration (CVA).
A spokesman for LRCH told Kent Online: ‘LRCH has taken the logical and sensible step of launching the CVA proposal.
‘We’ve spoken to many of our creditors who are very happy to support the initiative which would see their debts converted into shares.
‘Many millions have been invested into the Swanscombe Peninsula over the last decade and there remains a fantastic opportunity to bring forward exciting proposals.
‘This CVA process safeguards everyone’s position and provides an opportunity for a financial return to creditors in the long-term.’
Billed as one of the most ambitious theme park projects ever in Europe, the London Resort will be the first European development of its kind to be built from scratch since the opening of Disneyland Paris in 1992
The London Resort will be home to various TV and movie-themed attractions. Above, a previous mock-up of how the theme park could look
Despite the setback, LRCH insists the project is still ongoing, with new proposals for the development to be submitted later in 2023.
The original site would have included a waterpark, conference and convention centre and e-Sports facility.
Over 3,500 hotel rooms were set to be created alongside two ferry terminals – one each side of the River Thames.
The London Resort would have been the first European development of its kind to be built from scratch since the opening of Disneyland Paris in 1992.
A previous map and statement released by LRCH showed how the park will be split into different themed areas, taking visitors from the medieval period to the 23rd century
The success of Disneyland Paris is a testament to the impact that a global theme park can have on the economy.
A report on the economic contribution of Disneyland Paris found that the attraction added €68billion (£60billion) to the French economy in the 25 years since opening.
The region in which the park is located, Seine-et-Marne, has had a €22.4billion (£20billion) boost.
The attraction also made €13.7billion (£12.2billion) in purchases, of which 70 per cent were made locally and 82 per cent were made within France, adding knock-on benefits to local suppliers.
A previous rendering shows how the resort’s Kingdom zone could be home to an impressive medieval-inspired castle
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