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HomeNewsUniversal Studios to build new theme park just one hour from Harrow

Universal Studios to build new theme park just one hour from Harrow

Universal Studios has revealed ambitious plans to build a world-class theme park in Bedfordshire, just an hour away from Harrow along the M1 motorway.

The proposed site spans approximately 480 acres of land south of Bedford, strategically located between the villages of Kempston, Wootton, Stewartby, and Wixams. An additional piece of land to the southwest could expand the park to around 700 acres.

According to an Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) commissioned by Universal Destinations & Experiences (UDX), the theme park is poised to have a transformative impact on the UK economy, generating nearly £50 billion in economic benefits.

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This substantial figure includes a forecasted £35.1 billion net economic contribution during the construction phase and the first 20 years of operation. The project is estimated to contribute £14.1 billion in net additional tax returns for HM Treasury over the same period.

The construction phase alone is expected to generate 20,000 jobs, with 5,000 workers on-site at its peak. Once operational, the park will create 8,000 new jobs initially, rising over time. These roles will encompass a range of high-quality, multi-disciplinary positions, all committed to paying a living wage.

Evidence from other Universal theme parks suggests that for every job supported within the parks, at least 1.5 additional jobs may be supported across the supply chain and various sectors of the economy. This could result in an additional 20,000 jobs supported by the project, including high-quality apprenticeships.

The theme park is set to become one of the highest-attended attractions in the UK, drawing millions of visitors, including a significant number of international tourists. The influx of visitors is expected to generate further economic benefits, bolstering local businesses and the wider economy.

Page Thompson, President of New Ventures of Universal Destinations & Experiences, stated: “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 park will feature rides and attractions based on Universal’s extensive range of popular franchises. Fans could be looking forward to new experiences inspired by movies such as “Back to the Future,” “Despicable Me,” “An American Tail,” “Bourne,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Jaws,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Fast and Furious,” “Jurassic Park,” “American Pie,” and DreamWorks Animation films to name but a few.

Universal Studios has already begun engaging with local stakeholders and the public to discuss the project’s potential. With five theme parks already established in America, Japan, China, and Singapore, Universal aims to leverage its global expertise to create a unique and world-class destination in the UK.

However, the project will take several years to complete, with ongoing consultations and planning processes before construction can begin.

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