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First UK Universal theme park could deliver £50 Billion boost to economy

4 weeks ago

First UK Universal theme park could deliver £50 Billion boost to economy
Credit: Universal Studios / PA

Universal Destinations and Experiences has announced ambitious plans to build a major theme park resort on a 476-acre site in Kempston Hardwick, Bedfordshire, which it acquired last year.

This development marks the first UK Universal theme park and is projected to significantly boost the UK economy.

A new report commissioned by Universal highlights that the construction phase of this project would create 20,000 long-term jobs, with 5,000 workers on site during peak construction periods.

Once operational, the resort is expected to generate 8,000 new jobs across various roles, enhancing local employment opportunities.

The economic impact of the project is substantial, with an estimated boost of over £49 billion to the regional and wider UK economy.

This includes a £35.1 billion contribution through construction and the first 20 years of operations, and an additional £14.1 billion in cash returns for the Treasury over the same period.

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Islands of Adventure in Orlando. Credit: Universal Studios / PA
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Islands of Adventure in Orlando. Credit: Universal Studios / PA

Universal Destinations and Experiences, owned by Sky’s parent group Comcast, has emphasised the year-round operation of the resort, mirroring the company’s other global attractions.

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 initiated a month-long public engagement process in April to involve local residents and government in the planning phase.

Universal is expected to seek planning permission directly from the government through a special development order (SDO) later this year. If approved, the construction of the theme park is anticipated to take at least five years.

Universal’s proposed resort is set to transform the former brickworks site in Bedfordshire into a vibrant entertainment destination, bringing economic growth and new opportunities to the UK.

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