Developers have officially unveiled plans to build one of the world’s biggest theme parks in Britain – creating 27,000 jobs on a derelict cement works.
The huge £2 billion attraction, which it is hoped will rival Disneyland Paris, will be built by Paramount Pictures near Dartford, Kent.
It will be twice the size of the Olympic Park and be among the four largest theme parks anywhere in the world.
The enormous entertainment complex will feature Europe’s largest indoor water park, theatres, rollercoasters, live music venues, attractions, cinemas, restaurants, event space and hotels.
Officials say it will have an ”historical and British heritage” theme and will be completed in six years.
Incredibly, families in northern France will be able to reach the attraction in just 90 minutes by train – quicker than those in many parts of England.
The project is expected to create 27,000 jobs – most on site but including 10,000 jobs among local suppliers and specialist services including dozens of new hotels.
It is the brainchild of a consortium of businesses including French cement firm Lafarge, who own the land, Britain’s Development Securities and Canadian constructor Brookfield Multiplex.
The group are calling themselves the London Resort Company Holdings and have signed a deal with Paramount for their first UK theme park.
It will be built on brownfield land on the Swanscombe Peninsula, between Dartford and Gravesend, Kent, which was formerly a cement works owned by Lafarge.
Project manager Tony Sefton yesterday said: “We haven’t seen anything like this in the UK before.
“Job-wise this is very exciting. The direct jobs in phase one is 27,000 and that will be full-time jobs when we open.
“We will announce the number of construction jobs shortly.
“We are very lucky and we are going to learn from the amazing Olympics and the games-makers.
“We are planning to get the project open by 2018, that is the challenge, and we are three years into the journey.”
The site will be walking distance from Ebbsfleet International railway station, which is just 18 minutes from London, 110 minutes from Brussels and 125 minutes from Paris.
Paramount already owns successful theme park in Mercia, Spain.
The biggest theme parks in the world are Disneyland Florida, which attracts up to 17 million visitors a year, Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan, which pulls in annual crowds of eight million, and the Everland Resort, in Korea, which attracts seven million a year.