Dropping into an already congested area…

On Tuesday 14th March, the leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr. Rob Gledhill, spoke of the need for the council to be a part of the discussions concerning the proposed Paramount Theme Park to be sited on the other side of the Thames on the Swanscombe Peninsula: Thurrock Council boss believes meeting with theme park bosses is paramounthttp://www.yourthurrock.com/2017/03/16/thurrock-council-boss-believes-meeting-theme-park-bosses-paramount/

Gledhill talks about the potential ‘opportunities’ the theme park could bring to Thurrock and alludes to the need for this to be considered in the Grays Masterplan. This all sounds very positive and forward thinking…but it’s not… The Paramount Theme Park is being dropped into an area that already suffers from chronic traffic congestion and alarmingly high levels of air pollution. A situation that’s only going to be exacerbated by plonking a massive traffic generating development on one of the few areas of open marshland left in the area: Please support battle to save Swanscombe Marshes from ghastly ‘theme park’http://www.bexleywildlife.org/please-support-battle-to-save-swanscombe-marshes-from-ghastly-theme-park/

With a decision on the route of the Lower Thames Crossing still pending, the distinct possibility of the Paramount Theme Park being built will inevitably influence the outcome. It seems that every time a major road is built to alleviate traffic congestion, developments that generate considerable volumes of traffic are attracted to the area, nullifying any benefits the new roads might have brought and making the problems of congestion, air pollution and noise pollution even worse. We’ve seen it with both Lakeside and Bluewater and it looks like we’re going to see it with the Paramount Theme Park unless planners and politicians come to their senses.

To put it bluntly, this development is not sustainable or future proof. There’s a naïve assumption that the model of continuing economic growth that our politicians follow will proceed without any shocks. The fact that this model of economic growth is based on the consumption of finite fossil fuels doesn’t seem to register with planners or politicians in any way, shape or form. We’re no experts but on a planet with finite resources, it’s a no-brainer to see that at some point we’ll hit peak oil which will cause major disruption to an economy based on the continuing consumption of the black stuff. Would it not be a good idea to start to subject any major development proposals to rigorous scrutiny to see if they are sustainable and future proofed for a world when fossil fuels might not be as easily available as they are now?

The problem is that would require joined up thinking and spelling out some unpopular home truths – something that our politicians and planners seem to be incapable of doing…

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