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Indian tycoon proposes ‘peace theme park’ in east London

© The Essel Group

The Essel Group, headed by billionaire Dr Subhash Chandra, is in talks to take over the redevelopment of a 62-acre brownfield site in east London’s Royal Docks to create a cultural theme park.

A proposal has been submitted to the Greater London Authority to purchase the land from current developers, The Silvertown Partnership.

Its architects say the centre will provide a ‘cultural landmark’ for London which will ‘defy traditional tall build typologies’ and transform the city skyline.

The location spans 2.5 million square feet and plans for its development include museums, a theatre, a cultural centre, retail outlets, restaurants, a botanical garden and luxury hotel.

The Mumbai-based Essel Group believe the project could deliver 5,000 jobs in the east end of London.

The £3.5bn Silvertown redevelopment, which is already underway, will transform a former industrial area in Newham between Canary Wharf and London City airport, and create more than 3,000 homes, including affordable housing. The proposed purchase includes Millennium Mills, a former flour mill.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Silvertown was a booming industrial centre and home to companies including marmalade makers James Keiller & Sons, and the sugar refiners Tate & Lyle.

Dr Chandra told the London Evening Standard that the cultural centre would use ‘3D, 4D and animatronics’ to show how the world has evolved over the past 6,000 years. The centre will also provide space for meditation, yoga and dance as well as a spa and wedding venue. A conference centre, exhibition facilities and TV production studio are also proposed.

‘It has been a passion of mine for a long time to build something like this so the coming generations can know how past civilisations could live in harmony with nature and respect each other,’ said Dr Chandra.

A spokesperson for the Essel Group Parul Goel said: ‘London remains the beating heart of Europe, and the Essel Group is committed to making a huge investment into London to complete the transformation of this part of the city, offering a sustainable and eco-friendly development that meets the requirements of the current planning permission and ensuring this project moves quickly.’

‘The Essel Group and our design team have been in detailed discussions with The Silvertown Partnership for many months. With Brexit looming, this kind of investment into the UK represents a massive coup for the GLA and the London Mayor Sadiq Khan. The cultural centre will be like no other in the world, and we aim to put this part of London back on the map.’

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