Eric Pickles has appointed the Paramount theme park in Swanscombe a project of "national importance".

The communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles made the decision on Friday (May 9) and this means the project will now go through the planning inspectorate. 

This means the developers will be able to apply to the directly to the Secretary of State for planning permission rather than go through local authorities. 

The Paramount Park scheme is to be based in the Swanscombe peninsula and could bring up to 27,000 jobs to north Kent.

A 70-acre site of mainly derelict land on the border between Gravesham and Dartford is set to be developed by London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) as part of the £2 billion project.

A spokesman from the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "Having considered the criteria and other relevant matters, Ministers have decided that proposals for the Paramount London project are of national significance.

"Such a development would likely have significant economic impact, drive growth in the economy and affect areas beyond the local authority area.

"This means any planning application for related development would now have to go to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration."

News Shopper: Decision pending: Eric Pickles

Earlier this year Gravesham councillors were forced to defend their trip to Disney World Florida.

The Paramount Park development lies predominantly in Dartford but with much of the infrastructure in Gravesend. Darford councillors were not invited on the trip.

The project was first announced in November 2012.

Dartford Council leader Jeremy Kite told News Shopper in March: "There are some of the world's leading experts developing the plans for Paramount Park which will be an immense asset to our area when it is completed."

The application is expected to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate April 2015.