First UK Universal theme park ‘would deliver £50bn boost to economy’

Universal has revealed new details about plans for its first UK theme park, which it claims will help boost the UK economy by nearly £50 billion.

Universal Destinations and Experiences, which is owned by Sky parent group Comcast, bought a 476-acre site on a former brickworks in Kempston Hardwick, Bedfordshire, last year.

It has proposed building a major theme park resort on the site, and launched engagement with local residents and government.

A new report commissioned by Universal found that the construction of the project would create 20,000 jobs in the long-term, with 5,000 workers on site at its peak.

Once operational, the resort would initially create 8,000 new jobs in a range of roles.

The research also outlined that the project would deliver a boost of over £49 billion to the regional and wider UK economy.

This included a £35.1 billion contribution through the construction process and its first 20 years of operations.

It was also expected to generate up to £14.1 billion in extra cash returns for the Treasury for the same period.

The company has confirmed that the site is due to open 365 days a year, in line with the group’s other global resorts.

Page Thompson, president of new ventures for Universal Destinations and Experiences, said: “A world-class theme park and resort from Universal has the potential to generate billions in economic benefit for the UK, by creating thousands of high-quality jobs and attracting millions of new visitors to the country.”

The company took part in a month-long public engagement process for its plans from the start of April.

It is understood that Universal is likely to seek planning permission directly from government using a special development order (SDO) later in the year.

If it goes ahead, the construction of the site is likely to take at least five years.