Thursday, 20th July 2017
Businesses on the Swanscombe Peninsular in North Kent could literally be kicked out of their premises if the proposed London Resort theme park goes ahead.
Despite reassurances from the Chief Executive of LRCH, backers of the theme park, that he wants to negotiate settlements, it is evident from the published minutes of a meeting between the LRCH and the government’s Planning Inspectorate in May that Compulsory Acquisition is still very much on the cards.
Doug Hilton, one of the key landowners: “All we hear from LRCH’s Chief Executive is that he wants to negotiate with interested parties but these minutes explicitly confirm that LRCH will be seeking Compulsory Acquisition powers.
“The minutes confirm LRCH claims to own or has control over 85% of the land required and of the remaining 15% of land there are 50 different landowners with whom the Applicant is engaging.This is way wide of the mark as there are over 150 interested parties – landowners and business owners on the peninsular – and every one of these needs to be addressed individually. To date there have been no serious discussions about compensation or relocation to try to save the many thousands of jobs involved.
“The Compulsory Acquisition process is a particularly aggressive route to follow and should only ever be granted where a project is deemed to be so greatly in the public interest that it warrants taking someone’s business or assets”.
Nick Dunigan, another prominent landowner: “LRCH has always promised a lot but falls short when it matters. We’ve had sporadic meetings with LRCH over the last few years to discuss land acquisition but their team has been less than forthcoming with any serious responses. There is another meeting with them shortly but we are not convinced that LRCH will be able to offer anything of substance or meaningful as they admit they have no funds to start the process.
“Furthermore, it is evident that they still have a lot of work to do before being able to submit the necessary planning application, scheduled in their timetable for November 2017. However, as we enter the peak holiday season and with little progress to date, it is more than likely that they will once again miss this deadline, the fourth such failure.”
Concluding, Nick said: ““If LRCH intend to pursue the Compulsory Acquisition route, the impact on the local community cannot be quantified: It could lead to the demise of over 140 businesses, 2,750 direct jobs and a similar number of indirect jobs unless they can find suitable relocation premises or offer other solutions to allow the businesses to survive and move on!”
For further information, please contact Dan Bramwell, Bramwell Associates (Public Affairs) Mobile: 07968 304237 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org