The London Resort – Objections to Development Consent Order

Teresa Johnston continues to act for a number of construction clients and other businesses with leasehold or freehold interests situated at Swanscombe, Kent.

The Applicant, London Resort Companies Holdings Ltd (“LRCH”) has made an Application for a Development Consent Order for an entertainment theme park, set over 465 hectares. The location of the clients’ premises is key, due to immediate access to the Dartford Tunnel, Kent, Essex and the North.

The four grounds for objecting to this Application are:

  1. A Compulsory Purchase Order is not in the public interest and there has been an inadequate engagement by the Applicant in securing suitable, alternative accommodation and compensation for her clients’ businesses.
  2. LRCH has not demonstrated to be deliverable in funding and/or viable. All funders are resident overseas and no evidence has been submitted to prove funding of £3.5billion, to build the project.
  3. If built, the effects on traffic congestion and pollution would be severe.
  4. The ecological harm done would be unacceptable, including during the construction period.

This is the first commercial and business project to be accepted as an NSIP by UK Government.  However, on Wednesday 15 November 2021, the Board of Natural England retained the Swanscombe Peninsula as a SSSI: Site of Special Scientific Interest.  Swanscombe Peninsula is one of 4,000 sites in England representing the finest places for species, habitat and geology.

The extension suggested by the Applicant is well outside the three months in the DCLG Guidance and unusually high. Their Application was first submitted 12 months ago and these delays are having a catastrophic impact on the local economy. Interested Parties were invited to respond to the concerns raised in the Lead Member of the Examining Authority on 21 December 2021.

The Applicant has failed to provide basic information to the Examining Authority about its intentions in relation to the SSSI designation and has failed to provide four weekly updates since September 2021. It has recently been discovered that the Applicant’s solicitors have commenced proceedings in the High Court due to non-payment of legal costs.

On behalf of Teresa’s clients, the Examining Authority has been invited to proceed directly to an examination in March 2022.

CPO specialists have been instructed to ensure that her clients receive adequate compensation and alternative premises, in the event that a DCO is granted, and a challenge at the High Court is unsuccessful.

If you require advice in relation to Compulsory Purchase Orders, Development Consent Orders or Judicial Reviews, please contact Teresa Johnston on 07584 229 373 or via email: Teresa.Johnston@wellerslawgroup.com