The development of a major UK-based theme park has been halted by the discovery of a colony of rare spiders on the site.
The proposed development on the outskirts of London is backed by US-based filmmaking giant, Paramount, and at 842 acres the rival to Disneyland Paris would be the third biggest theme park in the world once it is completed. However, tiny arachnid, sitticus distinguendus, or the distinguished jumping spider, has shown that it has little respect for the movie company’s ambitious £2 billion plans by claiming squatters’ rights once it was discovered during an environmental audit of the brownfield site.
The park, located on the Swansombe Peninsular in Kent, was scheduled to be open to the public by 2019 and create 27,000 jobs in the process, but the rare spiders, which are only found at one other UK location in Essex, will need to be found a new home that meets their specialised requirements before development work starts.
London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH), the theme park’s management company, is unfazed by the development however, and despite the spiders’ legal status not affording them any official protection, the developer has promised to do right by them. Currently the creatures are only listed as a UK Biodiversity Plan priority species by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and they would need to be included in the Wildlife and Countryside Act to achieve full protection in law.
The proposal is that the distinguished jumping spider colony will be moved to a site that offers similar high-alkali conditions to their current home, and LRHC will recommence its development, which will include Europe’s largest indoor water park and state-of-the-art rides.