Ambitious plans to build a £2 billion Paramount theme park in the Thames Estuary near London are under threat after the UK government proposed building a new river crossing on the site.
The Department for Transport has put forward three potential locations for a new crossing, designed to ease congestion on the Dartford bridge and tunnel. Kent Online reports that one of these is in Swanscombe, the proposed site for the theme park resort. The finalised location for the crossing will not be announced until autumn 2013, although actual construction work is some way off.
Roads Minister Stephen Hammond insisted that the new crossing could be built alongside the Paramount park, rather than instead of it. However, the backers of the theme park have suggested that the government's proposal could seriously hinder attempts to secure financing for the project.
If it is eventually built, the Paramount resort will also include an indoor water park, an entertainment district, music venues and hotels. Unlike Paramount Parks, the studio's previous theme park venture (which was sold to Cedar Fair in 2006), the new park is set to be owned and operated entirely by outside investors. Paramount Pictures' involvement is likely be limited to licensing intellectual properties for use in attractions, and to providing conceptual master planning and design for the project.
Progress on the project was recently delayed by the discovery of a colony of rare spiders on the site. Significant barriers remain to making the Paramount park a reality, with securing funding and planning consent likely to prove the biggest challenges. The London Resort Company Holdings consortium has previously claimed that the park could open by 2018 if the project runs smoothly.