COUNCILLORS and top Thurrock officers had a chance to quiz and listen to representatives of the proposed Disneyland Paris-style Paramount theme park on Tuesday (June 2) evening.
Representatives of the huge scheme planned for the Swanscombe Peninsula in Kent – just half a mile across the Thames from West Thurrock, Grays and Tilbury – came to the council’s Civic Offices to make their presentation and answer questions.
Councillors from all three major parties in the council asked about transport, education and job opportunities, and even how quickly they had to make official representations.
Cllr Richard Speight, Thurrock’s cabinet member for planning and regeneration, said afterwards: “It was a fascinating presentation and, if the plans become reality, will have a major impact on local economies on both banks of the river.
“They were obviously oriented towards the Kent side of the Thames, apart from the Port of Tilbury and its storage and ferrying expertise, but Thurrock has much more to offer.
“We will be putting in a response to their current consultation by their Friday deadline this week, and we will be making sure the developers realise Thurrock is the place to come when they are looking for the artistic skills they are seeking.
“We have expertise here already with the Royal Opera House, Backstage Centre and the artist studios at Purfleet; and that’s before you consider the film and television studios planned for that town too. We also have the increasing number of artistic courses at South Essex College.”
He added, “There are still plenty of questions to be answered around transport and employment – particularly around the possibility of ferries across the Thames. We’ll be pushing hard all the way to make sure Thurrock suffers as little possible from the negative impacts, while benefitting from the jobs and growth that this development might provide.”
The leader of Thurrock Conservative group, cllr Rob Gledhill said "Thurrock Conservatives had to push hard for this presentation to take place after Cllr Sue Little first highlighted this project at full council.
"This park has the potential to supply employment, education, business and transport opportunities for Thurrock but only if we seize the initiative now and show what we, as a borough, can do.
"Even though the park is awaiting government approval and the start date isnt expected for a year or so, making sure we are ready for this and taking decisions that will help facilitate the opportunities this park presents must start now to ensure Thurrock does not miss out.