Universal Studios, which has resorts in US, Singapore, China and Japan, is known for rides such as Revenge of the Mummy, Transformers: The Ride 3D and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
The Government has thrown its weight behind plans to build a new, enormous theme park in the UK.
It comes after Universal Studios bought 480 acres of land in the UK, sparking hopes that a huge resort could be making its way to our nation. Now Transport Secretary Mark Harper and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have both been briefed on the project, which is still in its early stages.
During a Commons transport questions session, Labour MP Mohammad Yasin asked if the Government would commit to funding necessary road improvements to support the project. In response, Mr Harper confirmed his familiarity with the scheme and revealed that the Chancellor had also been involved.
“We will look very carefully at the proposals put forward, and I know the Government will want to do what we can to make sure that this exciting proposal comes to fruition,” he said.
Universal Destinations & Experiences is considering building a park and resort in Bedford. The company’s parent firm, Comcast Corporation, has already bought land near the town for this purpose.
Universal currently operates five entertainment and resort complexes worldwide. The Stewartby location is just outside of Bedford and close to Luton, meaning it will be easy for international visitors jetting into the airport there to reach.
Although the land has been bought, Universal Studios has not committed to building anything yet and has not submitted any planning applications. The company says it is in the “early stages of exploring its feasibility”, considering what could be done on a plot of land that was due to hold 1,000 homes which were never built. The former brickworks site used to have 167 chimneys, but they have all since been demolished.
Theme park history expert Dr Sabrina Mittermeier said that the construction would leave the area forever changed.
She told the BBC: “In the 1990s when Euro Disney was created, the French government was very interested in bringing Disney to France in terms of jobs, tourism and development. Usually, the local population supports it for the economic reasons. But you need to build a lot of infrastructure and all that comes out of state funds. France had to put in a lot of money to pay for road and rail improvements to accommodate millions of visitors.”
In December a spokesperson for the company behind Universal Studios said: “We recently acquired land in Bedford and are at the early stages of exploring its feasibility for a potential park and resort at this site. It will be many months before we are ready to make a decision to proceed and we look forward to engaging with all relevant stakeholders and the local community.
“We are always looking at new locations around the world, including in Europe, and the UK is an attractive place for a potential project. The UK has a large population, creative industries, strong tourism, and transportation infrastructure with close proximity to other parts of Europe.”