London Resort to make no ‘material’ changes to plans as CPRE joins other conservation groups in pushing for rethink
The Swanscombe peninsula has a superb array of natural habitats… CPRE Kent would like it to stay that way (pic Paul Buckley)
The developer behind the proposed London Resort theme park on the Swanscombe peninsula is ploughing on with the project, although it will be changing its plans after the location’s designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). London Resort Holding Company has been granted an extra four months to submit revised documents in its bid for a Development Consent Order from the Planning Inspectorate, meaning examination of the project is now likely to begin in September. It is reported by the BBC that LRCH does not intend to make any “material” changes but will be amending almost half of its 460 submission documents. A letter to the Planning Inspectorate shows that 11 documents will be replaced or have “substantive” updates, 46 will receive “some amendments” and about 160 “minor amendments”. Some 250 documents will not be changed, says the BBC. If the report is correct, LRCH’s latest proposals fall very far short of meeting an appeal by CPRE Kent and three other conservation charities, who have said in a joint letter to the Planning Inspectorate that LRHC “should have sought to withdraw their existing application and restart the pre-application process” after the SSSI designation. The letter has been signed by CPRE Kent, Buglife, Kent Wildlife Trust and the RSPB. Jamie Robins, of Buglife, said: “There is so much change here, it is hard to argue that it doesn’t warrant resubmission and fresh consultation.” He urged LRCH to consider other locations as “you cannot replace these habitats”. Natural England, which made the SSSI designation, said some 40 per cent of the site would be lost to the theme park, while there would be probable further impact from construction and operation. Transport and river navigation assessments will also receive “substantive updates” in response to concerns from Transport for London, the Department for Transport and the Port of London Authority. The Save Swanscombe Peninsula campaign says LRHC appears to be “using the extension as an opportunity to try and address big holes in the original application and not just regards their devastating impact on biodiversity”. With the six-month examination of the DCO application due to begin in September, the final decision on the project – by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government – will be made next year.
- Although this development is proposed for the Kent side of the Thames, it does have implications for Essex. To read why, click here
- To read the letter from CPRE Kent, Buglife, Kent Wildlife Trust and the RSPB, click here
- For more on this story, click here
- To learn more about the Save Swanscombe Marshes campaign, see here