The London Resort, one of the most ambitious projects in Europe, today released some of the results and feedback from its public consultation. The consultation revealed in detail how this largely brownfield, former industrial site, will be transformed into one of the most exciting destinations in the world.
The London Resort will be the first European development of its kind to be built from scratch since the opening of Disneyland Paris in 1992. It will eventually be a two-park resort – the first ‘gate’ will open in 2024 and the second within five years (2029) and it is expected that around 70% of attractions will be undercover
The public consultation ran from 27 July 2020 – 21 September 2020
73% of people said they supported the London Resort’s approach to the environment and biodiversity, with 51% strongly supporting it. 74% were in support of the approach to sustainability and 65% agreed that the London Resort will benefit the local area in the longer term.
The consultation, which lasted eight weeks, reached over 120,000 members of the public including 105,000 leaflets sent to areas of Gravesham, Dartford and Thurrock. There were targeted press notices across regional, local and social media, digital advertising promoting the consultation and an email newsletter was sent to nearly 11,000 businesses and interested parties. Notification emails were also sent to MPs, local councillors and stakeholder organisations.
The consultation saw over 27,000 people visit the London Resort website (https://londonresort.info/). Over 800 people attended twenty public webinars, over 1,000 questions were asked and answered. An additional 17.5 hours of webinars were held with key stakeholders including local authorities, parish and town councils. To date, 1,200 public consultation responses have been analysed, with final checks now being undertaken, (a 65% increase on 2015’s Consultation).
The London Resort’s approach to sustainability, the environment and its approach to walkways and cycle routes were among the most strongly supported by the public:
- 73% supported the approach to the environment and biodiversity with 51% strongly supportive.
The approach includes proposing a series of habitat enhancements and management interventions to ensure that the unique mix of habitats can continue to support the rich bird, invertebrate, reptile and small mammal species that are currently using the site. It also includes leaving a large proportion of the peninsula undeveloped including Black Duck Marsh, Broadness Marsh and the Local Wildlife Site at Botany Marsh.
- 74% were in favour of the London Resort’s approach to sustainability with 55% showing strong support.
The approach includes a commitment to delivering a net gain in biodiversity. To help achieve this it will be enhancing land offsite to improve habitat and biodiversity in areas where land management practices have reduced the value of that land for wildlife.
- 76% supported the approach to walkways, cycle routes and public rights of way with 54% being in strong support.
The approach includes improving the recreational offering, in an area which has fairly limited access, for local people. New footpath routes are proposed that will allow enjoyment of the river and marsh landscape. It will include board walks in the marshes as well as bird hides to allow wildlife enthusiasts to spend time with minimised disturbance. The plans include careful management of pedestrian and cycle routes ensuring visitors have clear route guidance and the designation of ‘wildlife zones’ where the public will not have access at all.
“Sustainability is at the core of our vision,” commented PY Gerbeau, the London Resort’s CEO. “Through the consultation, people were able to digest hundreds of pages of the latest analysis and environmental studies. It was also, quite rightly, a topic which engendered a lot of questions. For three quarters of people to be in support of our plans is hugely rewarding; we would like to thank everyone who responded, we are taking all feedback very seriously.”
Another hot topic in the consultation was around traffic and how people will get in and out of the London Resort. 70% of respondents supported the approach to sustainable transport and minimising impacts on the road network (50% strongly in support). 80% were in support of keeping London Resort traffic separate from local traffic with 52% in strong support.
When asked the question at the end of the consultation, 16% of responses remained strongly opposed to the masterplan. Of the 64% who stated their support, more than double (44%) were strongly in favour.
To date, across the five consultations which have been staged since 2014, nearly 9,000 people have either attended events or webinars with a total of 1,931 feedback forms received.
“Getting to this point has not been easy,” continued PY. “But the public has responded overwhelmingly in favour and for that we are deeply grateful. We will go through all of the feedback and use it to help inform our approach and further develop our proposals. But there is no doubting, that our aim of creating one of the most exciting entertainment destinations in the world, here in the UK, has taken another big step towards becoming a reality. We now look forward to submitting our DCO application later this year.”