London Resort examination will not begin before January 2022

The Swanscombe peninsula has a superb array of natural habitats… CPRE would like it to stay that way (pic Paul Buckley)

The proposed London Resort theme park has largely disappeared from the radar in recent months, so it is timely to give an update on proceedings.
The plans for the country’s largest theme park, which CPRE Kent views as highly damaging to our natural environment, are targeted at the Swanscombe peninsula between Greenhithe and Northfleet.
In January this year the Planning Inspectorate declared that it was accepting the application by London Resort Company Holdings for a Development Consent Order to build the park.
A six-month examination of the project, in which CPRE Kent will take part, had been expected to begin two to four months from that point.
However, on Thursday, March 11, National England announced that the site warranted designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the peninsula’s “nationally important invertebrates, breeding birds, plants and geology”.
Good news for the peninsula, its wildlife and the local people for whom it is a critical area for recreation, but there would be a four-month consultation before potential SSSI confirmation.
The National England announcement prompted CPRE Kent, Buglife, Kent Wildlife Trust and the RSPB to send a joint letter to the Planning Inspectorate stating that LRCH “should have sought to withdraw their existing application and restart the pre-application process” after the SSSI designation.
Far from it, however! LRCH chose instead to plough on with its project, although saying it would be changing its plans after the SSSI designation. It was granted an extra four months to submit revised documents in its DCO bid, meaning the examination would most likely begin in September.
The BBC reported that LRCH did not intend to make any “material” changes to its proposal – despite intending to amend almost half of its 460 submission documents!
However… in July this year the Planning Inspectorate advised that “The ExA [examining authority] does not have a detailed understanding of the Applicant’s proposed consultations and updates. Having considered the information available to date, the ExA is minded not to decide on the date(s) of the PM [preliminary meeting] before it has seen the Applicant’s submissions. On that basis the ExA anticipates that it will be unable to decide on the date(s) of the PM before mid-December 2021 and that therefore a PM is unlikely to be held before mid-January 2022.”
Or, in other words, examination of the London Resort is not going to begin until the second half of January next year – at the earliest.

  • For more on this story, see here 
  • To read the Planning Inspectorate letter detailing the delay in beginning the examination, see here 
  • Although this development is proposed for the Kent side of the Thames, it does have implications for Essex. To read why, click here