Published On: Fri, Feb 2nd, 2024

Massive £25m superboat to ‘travel back to EU waters’ after being rejected by Londoners | UK | News

Plans to build a massive £25 million super party boat on the Thames have been scrapped, marking what organisers have said is a “sad day” for London.

The Oceandiva, a floating events venue planned to hold up to 1,000 people, will return to EU waters, its owners have said.

Entertainment firm Smart Group hoped the boat would be used for events like high-end weddings and conferences while travelling up and down the river.

But it met fierce local resistance, with politicians fearing the floating venue was unsuitable for its surroundings.

Smart Group has now cancelled its planned development, and in a letter announcing the news, its managing director has said it is a “sad day for the city”.

Chloe Jackson said in a letter reported by MyLondon that “regulatory challenges” and “infrastructural inadequacies” had scuppered the firm’s plans.

She added that, while some people would likely celebrate the news, the cancellation would be a “missed opportunity” for the city.

She wrote: “It is with deep regret that we will not be able to bring this long-awaited project to fruition.

“Whilst we acknowledge that this may feel like a victory for some local residents and riverside stakeholders, we are sure you can appreciate it is a sad day for the city and indeed Smart Group, as this carbon-neutral, cutting-edge vessel will no longer be redefining events on the River Thames.”

“It is quite simply a missed opportunity for the city.”

However, local politicians did not agree with Ms Jackson’s assessment, among them Rachel Bentley, the Liberal Democrat councillor for North Bermondsey.

She told MyLondon the news was a “huge victory for Thames-side residents and businesses”, and added the proposed venue was unsuitable for the areas where it was planned to operate.

The yacht was to be moored primarily at the Royal Docks in Newham and make stop-offs at six piers across the city in Greenwich, Southwark and Tower Hamlets while undertaking trips.

Ms Bentley said the large vessel would have been “completely unsuitable” for the narrow stretches of river in which it planned to operate.

She added: “Residents of Shad Thames were rightly concerned about rowdy party-goers disembarking into their historic neighbourhoods all day and night.”

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