The ride’s over even before it’s begun. Warner Bros. and United News & Media have abandoned their plans to build a $340 million theme park and film studio in Hillingdon, on the western edge of London.The decision was prompted by difficulties in obtaining planning permission from the local council to develop the Hillingdon House Farm site. But the partners say they remain committed to finding an alternative location in southern England for the Warner Bros. Movie World concept. While no new site will be able to match Hillingdon’s proximity to central London, a spokesman for the venture claimed that far from causing a delay, a new location will mean Warner’s first British theme park and studio should be completed sooner than expected: It will no longer be subject to Hillingdon’s onerous environmental restrictions. Hillingdon House Farm is designated “green belt” land, and permission to build WB Movie World could be given only after a public inquiry, which could last as long as two years. Moreover, the local council insisted that Warners and United find and finance an alternative location for the recreation facilities now on the site, including a swimming pool and soccer fields. After analyzing the situation for the past year, WB and United have decided the site is too small to generate an adequate return.
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