Gravesend Tory leader says Disney World Florida trip 'not a jolly'

Gravesham's Tory opposition leader has defended the trip saying "we are not going on a jolly".

Council leader John Burdon has also defended the trip.

Paramount Park will provide 27,000 jobs and be built on the Swanscombe penninsula.

Gravesham's opposition leader has defended the council's decision to spend £15,000 sending five councillors and four officers to Disney World in Florida next month saying "we are not going on a jolly".

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Gravesham's Tory opposition leader has defended the council's decision to spend £15,000 sending five councillors and four officers to Disney World in Florida next month saying "we are not going on a jolly".

As well as Disney World the party will take in tours of Universal Studios and Island of Adventure as well as neighbouring developments and communities.

The trip has been organised by developers London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) who are behind plans for the £2 billion Paramount Park development in the Swanscombe peninsula.

The trip will be paid for by taxpayers money to start with but then paid for by the cost of the planning application.

John Cubitt, ward councillor for Meopham North, told News Shopper: "There are always those who will accuse members of ‘going on a jolly’ but we don’t regard giving up our Easter Holiday for two long flights and an intensive series of meetings combined with a whistle stop tour of theme parks in America, as ‘a jolly’.

"Theme park noise (other than noting how it affects nearby communities), crowds and contrived excitement don’t particularly interest us.

"We do these things in the service of the council and our constituents not for personal gain."

The party of nine leave on April 19 for the three-day trip.

Dartford Council's leader Conservative Jeremy Kite has said that he was not invited on the trip and even if he was asked he wouldn't go.

The Paramount Park development lies predominantly in Dartford but with much of the infrastructure in Gravesend.

As well as Disney World the party will take in Universal Studios and Island of Adventure as well as neighbouring developments and communities.

Coun Burden said: "The programme for this visit is extremely busy being packed with serious business discussions which should provide invaluable insights into the issues surrounding the development of a truly global attraction on our doorstep.

"It is entirely right the council examines all these issues fully and we are grateful to LRCH for facilitating these meetings with key people and communities which have had direct experience of facing and overcoming those challenges."

A council press release trumpeted the event as a chance for councillors to "see at close quarters the issues for local communities surrounding the establishment of a world-class leisure project".

Coun Burden added: "It would be foolish to see this project as just another planning application because in reality the scheme is of almost unimaginable proportions with colossal repercussions."

It is claimed first-hand knowledge of similarly large projects will help councillors and officers deal with the complicated planning process for Paramount Park.

LRCH has set up meetings with senior figures in Florida who had to deal with the massive effects on transportation, housing and the local economy caused by theme parks.

The Paramount Park scheme, announced in November 2012, could bring up to 27,000 jobs to north Kent.

A 70-acre site of mainly derelict land straddling the border between Gravesham and Dartford is set to be developed.

Bryan Sweetland, Gravesham Council Conservative councillor for Istead Rise, added: "At a time when Gravesham’s Labour controlled council have just increased our council tax and council house rents, organising an expenses paid sight seeing trip to Florida for nine councillors and staff simply proves they are completely out of touch with ordinary people.

"This will be seen by the general public as another jolly and I want no part in it.

"I’m sure they will feel completely at home in the Magic Kingdom."

Comments (5)

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1:17pm Fri 28 Mar 14

annam85 says...

That's over £1600 each for a three day trip!? Fair enough if you need to go.. but unless you are all taking a private jet and staying in the Princess suite with Cinderella in the flippin Disney castle itself... you (we) have all been thoroughly ripped off!
Think of what that money could have meant to a school or local community group.
That's over £1600 each for a three day trip!? Fair enough if you need to go.. but unless you are all taking a private jet and staying in the Princess suite with Cinderella in the flippin Disney castle itself... you (we) have all been thoroughly ripped off! Think of what that money could have meant to a school or local community group. annam85
  • Score: 3

8:02am Sat 29 Mar 14

HearTheFacts says...

Can all those that will be affected by this development come?.

Well of course not, its for the chosen few. But what do these individuals know, what experience do they have?.

I feel sorry for these people having to endure a long hall flight. Also attending meetings, is that not what they do already?. I'm sure they will suffer, for the benefit of Gravesend residents!. It's a hard life working for a council isn't it?.

Maybe we should have a whip around for them?. These poor suffering individuals!.

Also can I come, I'm sure I would endure it?.
Can all those that will be affected by this development come?. Well of course not, its for the chosen few. But what do these individuals know, what experience do they have?. I feel sorry for these people having to endure a long hall flight. Also attending meetings, is that not what they do already?. I'm sure they will suffer, for the benefit of Gravesend residents!. It's a hard life working for a council isn't it?. Maybe we should have a whip around for them?. These poor suffering individuals!. Also can I come, I'm sure I would endure it?. HearTheFacts
  • Score: 2

10:37am Sat 29 Mar 14

Tom_Perfect says...

Is a trip across the pond "really" necessary?

Disneyland Paris is just across the Channel. Better still, Thorpe Park, Legoland, and Alton Towers all lie within a reasonable distance of Gravesend. Whilst not on the truly-collosal scale of Walt Disney World, these attractions have doubtlessly had an impact on surrounding communities.
Is a trip across the pond "really" necessary? Disneyland Paris is just across the Channel. Better still, Thorpe Park, Legoland, and Alton Towers all lie within a reasonable distance of Gravesend. Whilst not on the truly-collosal scale of Walt Disney World, these attractions have doubtlessly had an impact on surrounding communities. Tom_Perfect
  • Score: 1

10:42am Sat 29 Mar 14

Sidcupman says...

Bryan Sweetland, what is it about being paid for by planning application fees to you not understand? Any council who went in to approve this scale of project without carrying out investigations on the impact on local people and services would be irresponsible. As for the travel cost, dont forget they will be travelling at business rates not tourist.
Bryan Sweetland, what is it about being paid for by planning application fees to you not understand? Any council who went in to approve this scale of project without carrying out investigations on the impact on local people and services would be irresponsible. As for the travel cost, dont forget they will be travelling at business rates not tourist. Sidcupman
  • Score: 1

10:55am Sat 29 Mar 14

Gypo.Joe says...

Let me help you with your choice here.

Swanscombe or Florida

Florida or Swanscombe

Swanscombe or Florida


Florida or Swanscombe

There now does that help, where would you Joe Blow want to go ?
Let me help you with your choice here. Swanscombe or Florida Florida or Swanscombe Swanscombe or Florida Florida or Swanscombe There now does that help, where would you Joe Blow want to go ? Gypo.Joe
  • Score: -10

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