Dartford MP Gareth Johnson today asked the Business Minister to help support businesses in the Swanscombe Peninsula who have been operating with uncertainty since the land they work from was earmarked as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project for a proposed Theme Park in 2014.
During Business questions in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said: “A number of businesses in my constituency face an uncertain future due to a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) earmarked for the Swanscombe Peninsula where those businesses are located. Would the Minister commit to working with the MHCLG to do all it can to support those businesses who find themselves in that situation.”
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said: “I fully appreciated the concerns of local businesses with regards to the uncertainty over the Swanscombe Peninsula. My department works very closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. I would gladly raise this with the Minister for local growth when I see him tomorrow.”
Following the Business questions, Mr Johnson added: “Over one hundred and forty businesses are based at Northfleet Industrial Park on the Swanscombe peninsula and they are unable to make long term business plans due to the uncertainty created by this NSIP. They simply do not know when they will be required to leave the site and make way for the theme park to be built. No business can operate successfully in this way.”
Dan Bramwell, who represents many of the businesses based on the Swanscombe peninsula, said: “It is very disappointing that the promoters of the theme park have failed to keep us abreast of their plans or to engage with the individual businesses about their future. They are, however, quite happy to announce new business deals for the potential theme park even though there is no certainty that it will ever happen. The Swanscombe businesses have faced over five years of uncertainty which has severely impacted on their ability to plan for the future. They welcome Mr Johnson’ s continued support on this matter.”
In an earlier exchange in the Commons, Mr Johnson also asked what recent steps have been taken to support businesses in Dartford.
In his reply, Mr Zahawi said: “I’m pleased to say that Dartford has been shortlisted for the Future High Street Fund to renew its town centre. This will build on the £4.3million support already allocated from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Fund.”