Plans for £2.5bn theme park dubbed ‘UK’s answer to Disneyland’ get huge boost

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Plans for a £2.5bn Disneyland-style theme park in the UK have passed their first hurdle and will now be examined by the Planning Inspectorate.

The London Resort says its proposal has met the standards required to be accepted for examination, according to the Planning Inspectorate.

A 25,000-page proposal for the ambitious project was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on December 31 last year.

That proposal has now been accepted for examination and now the application, and ultimately the decision, passes to the Secretary of State, with the London resort saying the inquiry and validation process is expected to take between 12-18 months.

In a tweet, the Planning Inspectorate confirmed the news, writing: "We have today accepted the application for the London Resort for examination.

"This is the first Business and Commercial #NSIP to be examined under the Planning Act 2008 process."

The London Resort's team have hailed the news as a "game-changer and a very special day to celebrate".

“It’s taken an enormous effort from everyone involved to get to where we are today,” commented PY Gerbeau, CEO of London Resort Company Holdings. “I want to thank the home team, our investor, our partners and people who supported us for their dedication and incredible commitment.

“We have always said our ambition is to build much more than just a theme park. It will be a beacon of world-class entertainment and experiences within a world-leading sustainable environment.

"We still have a long way to go and we are very much looking forward to working with the Planning Inspectorate over the coming months.

"But, from where we were, less than eighteen months ago, today is a game-changer and a very special day to celebrate.”

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When complete, it will be three times larger than any other park in the UK – spanned across 535 acres, the equivalent of 136 Wembley Stadiums.

Around 70% of the attractions will be undercover to cope with the unpredictable English weather.

It plans to be the first operationally carbon neutral theme park, will deliver a net biodiversity gain and will create a green network of amenity areas and parkland to include areas of environmental enhancement and wildlife habitat creation beside the River Thames for local residents and resort guests.

If the plans are approved, it will be the first European development of its kind to be built from scratch since the opening of Disneyland Paris in 1992.

Conservationists last week lodged an application for the government to protect the 465-hectare site in Swanscombe Peninsula in Kent.

Buglife argued the 5mm-long Distinguished Jumping Spider is found in only one other location in Britain and is among hundreds of "at risk" species whose habitat is threatened.

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