26 June 2024

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

26 June 2024

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.

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 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.

Universal Studios is considering building a theme park in the UK (PA/Alamy)

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