London Resort Company Holdings, the company behind the scheme, received written confirmation on 9 May from Eric Pickles that Paramount Park can be decided under the latest planning regime.
The full designs include a theme park, hotels, bars, restaurants, business space, training academy, monorail and associated infrastructure works.
The Growth and Infrastructure Act enabled the NSIP regime to include major business and commercial projects, such as offices, factories, exhibition centres and warehouses. And it appears major projects such as Paramount are now meeting the new planning requirements.
As a result of the planning changes, which came into force on 18 December 2013, promoters of such major business and commercial schemes can apply to the Secretary of State to have the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) process their plans, rather than the relevant local planning authority, in this case Gravesham Borough Council.
Not surprisingly given the employment numbers being attached to Paramount Park, Mr Pickles is understood to have ruled that the proposal would be likely to have significant economic impact, be important in driving growth in the economy, would have an impact on an area wider than a single local authority’s boundaries, and is of national significance. The company is expected to submit a planning application to PINS in the first half of 2015.
With Paramount Park now to be decided via the NSIP, and Ebbsfleet Garden City coming under the responsibility of an Urban Development Corporation, some people might be left wondering where the local in localism has gone when it comes to North Kent planning matters. However, it is Kentcentric’s understanding that Paramount Park has the strong local support of KCC, the local districts and Kent & Medway Economic Partnership.
Let’s all hope the funding can be raised, that the planning case is a strong one, that the local support doesn't waiver, and that Paramount Park becomes a reality and drives forward the Kent economy.