Revealed: Kuwait-backed $3.6bn UK theme park plans

London Paramount Entertainment Resort will be located on an 872-acre brownfield site on Kent's Swanscombe peninsula

The project is expected to attract around 15 million people a year.
The project is expected to attract around 15 million people a year.

Kuwaiti-owned London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) has released new images, details and a scale model of the $3.6 billion theme park it is developing in Kent, in Southern England, and which is due to open in 2020.

London Paramount Entertainment Resort, which was launched in October 2012 and will be located on an 872-acre brownfield site on Kent’s Swanscombe peninsula, just 17 minutes on the train from Central London, is due to start construction in autumn 2016.

Kuwaiti European Holding (KEH) Group bought LRCH two years ago and has been financing the plans ever since.

The project was designated as ‘Nationally Significant’ in May 2014 by the UK's Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Ahead of submitting for planning permission in winter 2016, LRCH is currently planning a fourth round of consultations with local residents and interest groups.

As part of this ongoing interaction with the public, a new set of images and a large scale model of the theme resort were unveiled this week. The project is expected to attract around 15 million people a year, or around 50,000 a day, when it is up and running. It will include multiple zones, including Adventure Isle, Land of Legends, Cartoon Circus, Starfleet Command, Action Square, Port Paramount and Entertainment City.

In addition to 50 rides and attractions, it will include a 2,000 seat theatre with regular West End quality shows, 11,000 square metres of exhibition space showcasing the best of British inventions and brands, over 11,000 restaurant covers in a variety of food outlets, 15,000 m2 of retail space, a plaza area with regular live entertainment, a cinema and comedy venue, the largest indoor water park in Europe, 5,000 hotel bedrooms and a creative business space for British businesses.

The key source of inspiration for the resort is a licensing agreement with Paramount Licencing Inc, giving LRCH exclusive rights to use Paramount’s intellectual property in the UK, including films such as ‘The Godfather,’ ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ ‘Mission Impossible,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘The Italian Job’ and ‘Titanic.’

In addition, the company has signed a number of additional partnerships, including a deal with BBC Worldwide, giving the resort access to some of the British broadcaster’s most popular shows including ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Top Gear’ and ‘Sherlock’, which could all be turned into theme park rides and attractions for visiting fans.

In February, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Aardman Animations, one of the UK’s leading animation studios, and the producers behind a number of award-winning feature films and TV series including ‘Chicken Run’, ‘Pirates Band of Misfits’, the ‘Wallace and Gromit’ franchise and the ‘Shaun The Sheep’ TV series.

And in March LRCH announced that the British Film Institute (BFI) had joined the project to provide strategic cultural counsel. The BFI was set up in 1933 and it maintains the world’s largest film archive, containing more than 50,000 fiction films, over 100,000 non-fiction titles and around 625,000 television programmes.

In terms of the finances, Abdulla Al Humaidi, Group CEO of KEH Group, told Arabian Business earlier this year he was confident that, unlike rival Disneyland Paris across the English Channel, London Paramount Entertainment Resort will be profitable.

“We are not putting in the entire capital. We are funding the entire project until 2017 and we have already funded it for the last two years and will continue to do so until the planning is achieved. Then we will go to the markets for further funding. We believe it is a £2.5bn project and we believe it will be profitable from year two of the project.”

In terms of the reaction from residents, he also believed he has those on side. “The project is hugely supported by the locals. It will provide 27,000 jobs to the local area there and it is a win-win situation for everyone involved in the project so I don’t see how anyone could oppose such a project.”

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