Just across the Thames from Grays is the Swanscombe Peninsula. Currently, much of it is marshland and open land with some industrial and trading estates on the fringes. It’s also home to the UK’s tallest electricity pylon! If the developers – London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) – get their way, it won’t be staying like this for much longer.
They propose to build a massive theme park on the peninsula: London Resort: New theme park plans unveiled to transform north Kent by 2024. There is a ‘consultation’ currently underway for this project which is due to end on September 21st. As an aside, it seems that any major new development along the estuary is having London somewhere in the title for marketing and recognition purposes even though they’re patently not located in Greater London.
Just because there’s a river between Thurrock and the Swanscombe Peninsula doesn’t mean that a development the scale of The London Resort Theme Park won’t affect us. It will impact on Tilbury and Grays because a ‘park and glide’ facility is proposed. Basically, to ease some of the expected road congestion south of the river, visitors from the north side will be encouraged to drive down to Tilbury, park their cars in a 2,500 vehicle capacity parking facility and then be ferried across the river to The London Resort.
The problem about this is in that in their eagerness to push this project through, LRCH have neglected to ask the residents in Tilbury and Grays what they think about having a 2,500 vehicle parking facility along with all the attendant extra traffic movements foisted upon them. It would seem that the reach of the ‘consultation’ stops halfway across the Thames.
Fortunately, some of the local councillors in Tilbury and Grays have been diligent enough to point this out to LRCH and have requested that they involve Thurrock residents in the ‘consultation’ process: Councillors say plans for one of the UK’s biggest theme parks must involve Thurrock residents. Presumably, LRCH probably think that because this part of the world is already covered with logistics deports and the like along with the traffic movements they create, residents won’t notice a 2,500 vehicle parking facility being plonked down in the middle of this. We’ve got news for LRCH – they will notice and they won’t be happy!
We’ve had a quick search around and their doesn’t appear to be much in the way of local opposition to this south of the river. The only campaign against The London Resort appears to be one organised by the national conservation organisation, Buglife: Save Swanscombe Marshes. If there’s no local grassroots opposition to The London Resort, then residents in Tilbury and Grays who object to the impact of the development have no one to link up with and will be fighting pretty much on their own.
This is a far from ideal situation but we have to make the best of it. It looks as though opposition to The London Resort Theme Park will be piecemeal with Buglife focusing on the loss of habitat and councillors and residents in Thurrock focusing on the traffic issues. It may be that the economic slump that’s a consequence of lockdown will at least delay the project and allow enough time for a strong enough campaign to emerge to scupper this scheme and save a unique and valuable habitat.