London Paramount: A Hot Topic For The Logistics Sector

London Paramount, the proposed £2.2 billion Paramount-themed leisure resort covering 500 acres of land at Swanscombe Peninsula, was the hot topic discussed at the TSP+ Forum event, hosted by leading South East law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore.

The firm is keen to lead discussions about this proposed development, its impact on North Kent and surrounding areas and what members of the business community, of which the firm forms part, can do now to ensure that their concerns are not overlooked and that they are best placed to take advantage of the opportunities arising and to mitigate against any possible risks.

The event was hosted by Alex Lewsley, Senior Associate in the Commercial Property and Development team based in the firms Thames Gateway office. He was joined by three knowledgeable guest speakers: Kevin Burbidge, director of housing and regeneration at Gravesham Borough Council, Tim Allen, a partner at development and infrastructure consultancy Peter Brett Associates LLP and Ann Komzolik, executive director of business development at North West Kent College. They stimulated audience debate and discussion, and offered their personal views on the opportunities and risks that this game-changing proposal presents.

Kevin Burbidge offered thoughts from a regeneration perspective. He emphasised the huge impact the resort may have on individuals, companies and the wider area. He said that London Paramount is not just a theme park; the resort is expected to consist of hotels, mono-rail, bars/restaurants, theatre, exhibitions and business space. Expected to generate 27,000 jobs, London Paramount is of national, if not international importance.

With a predicted average 44,000 daily visitors, Tim Allen spoke about the likely infrastructure implications, believing that the proposed resort poses an opportunity in terms of international rail travel. He said that quantifying the impacts is extremely challenging, but he explained that two-thirds of the visitors to London Paramount might travel by car, and a quarter by rail. This means that there are important decisions to be made about how we balance the different demands on our transport network between opportunities like Paramount and the wider activity in this corner of the South-east of England.

According to Ann Komzolik, it is important to respond to the London Paramount proposal by making sure that local people have the right skill sets to access the jobs. A clear strategy should be put in place now to make sure that London Paramount can employ well-rounded people with the right skills and attitudes locally. Training opportunities include London Paramount’s own bespoke training academy, on-the-job training and outsourced training opportunities by way of schools/colleges/universities getting involved. We need to make sure that our education programmes are enriched so that students are job-ready and able to compete in a global market in time for the park opening in 2020.

The vast majority – 88% – of those who attended the event were in favour of London Paramount being situated in Kent. The proposal has certainly been met with a positive response, but the possible consequences for businesses in North Kent and surrounding areas should the London Paramount proposal go ahead require careful consideration.