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London Resort Company grapples with CVA


London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH), the company behind plans to build a theme park resort in Swanscombe, Kent, has called in administrators with the aim of completing a CVA.

The company says it is aiming to agree terms with creditors in relation to its liabilities with a view to continuing with the development.

However, the move could be the final death knell to the £2bn proposals to build the huge attraction, once described as one of the most ’ambitious theme park projects in Europe’.

The original £2bn plans were first announced in 2012 by a consortium which included US-based entertainment giant Paramount Pictures.

In 2014, the project was categorised as being of ’national significance’ and fast-tracked by the UK government, while plans were laid to improve transport links and Mission Impossible and Star Trek were slated as possible IPs for the development.

In 2015, Farrells was revealed as the masterplanner
for the development and a Chinese investor put in £100m, however, by 2016, the project had advanced – but had already hit some significant bumps.

Fenlon Dunphy, one of London Paramount’s prominent figureheads, walked away from the project, two months after the developer made public assurances that the theme park was on track.

As Paramount pulled out, the name of the proposed park was changed from London Paramount Entertainment Resort to “The London Resort”.

A joint venture with construction company Keltbray followed.

In 2019, the project received new wind in its sails, as Paramount Pictures made a surprise move and entered into a new partnership with LRCH, re-engaging with the project to supply its IPs and a deal was also done with ITV Studios for the use of its IPs.

The announcement coincided with LRCH also appointing PY Gerbeau – credited with contributing to the development of Euro Disney in the late 90s and the Millenium Dome in London in 2000 – as CEO.

An opening date was then set for 2024, since then, however, the project has suffered a number of setbacks.

These have ranged from a critically endangered jumping spider being found on the site – leading to delays in the planning process – to complications relating to nearby Tilbury being classed as a Freeport.

Following these difficulties and delays, LRCH has entered the company voluntary arrangement (CVA), in order to renegotiate its debts, throwing the future of the project in doubt. A winding up order for compulsory strike-off was suspended on 24 February and discontinued on 7 March, indicating that positive progress may be underway.

Directors of the company are currently listed as Dherar Mohamed Saleh Al-Humaidi, Alan Crane, Robert MacNaughton, who was appointed on 27 January this year and Steven Norris. PY Gerbeau resigned from the board on 22 December 2022.

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