Dubai-style island resorts planned on the Thames

May 12th, 2008 - 6:07 pm ICT by admin  

London, May 12 (IANS) Gulf property developers are planning to build luxury island resorts in England - complete with yacht marinas, theatres, an opera house and housing - along the lines of the famed artificial palm islands of Dubai, a newspaper reported. The plan to reclaim two stretches of land in the Thames estuary between Kent and Essex and turn them into resorts was drawn up by Sir Terry Farrell, architect of the MI6 secret service headquarters in London and designer of a 9-billion pound master plan to develop the Thames Gateway - the area along the riverbank from east London to the North Sea.

The two islands would be connected by a six-mile bridge spanning the estuary, the Sunday Times reported.

The newspaper said unnamed Dubai construction firms are understood to have joined a consortium of potential investors, and are awaiting a response from British government ministers.

“This would be a first for Britain, but in Holland and Dubai they’ve been doing it for ages,” said Martin Nielsen, a director of Scott Wilson, the engineering consultancy which has taken up Farrell’s original idea.

The plans envisage creating large towns on both islands and a marina on the south of the main island. This would be the first point of call for yachts travelling from Europe to London.

The seafront would be lined with shops, cafes and apartments.

Architects believe the islands would also help to protect London from tidal surges, which could become a greater danger if sea levels rise.

The centrepiece of the development would be an arch formed by two 450-foot-high piers suspending the bridge, high enough for any ship to pass under, the newspaper reported.

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