Well you need a lot of space, if you look at Thorpe, it may be small, but the total space used by the park, car parks and other areas is huge. Now if something like the Smiler and Swarm cost 18Million, you'd need a huge amount of cash, plus planning permissions etc.
If you have enough money behind you like Paramount, then it is possible.
To be honest the only way we are going to see a new theme park is for existing parks we have in this country who will expand or where Zoos start adding rides, like Chester Zoo, Chessington and recently announced Longleat.
Merlin really have the south of England sorted, the only thing I can see is for them to possibly get BPB or Flamingoland/Lightwater when the time is right.
There would be no chance of buying Oakwood as its owned by Merlin's number one competit
Merlin have plenty of room for expansion on their existing parks and I believe over the next 20 years we will see Thorpe and Alton both expand to use all available land. I believe we won't see much more expansion on Legoland or Chessington.
Merlin also have many good attractions in London sorted to.
For any independent park, they have a massive challenge:
-Merlin have some of the best parks already
-The strength and fantastic price of the MAP and unlimited entry means whatever their deal will be, is rubbish compared to what Merlin are offering
-Merlin have their foot in the door, great experts and with so many parks over the world, they have the right people to do a good job (When they put their mind to it)
-Merlin have the cash to build a new big ride every year, where as a smaller park it may only be every 5-10 years depending on budgets
-The Merlin marketing machine is huge and very powerful, TV adverts, national newspaper adverts and recently the marketing used for the Smiler have shown their power
-You can't walk into your local supermarket in the summer and not have something with a Merlin product advertised on it
-2 for 1's are almost everywhere too.
For Merlin, unless an existing park is available at a good price, I doubt they will do much apart from the off Sealife Centre or small attraction. Merlin will spend more money overseas at opening up newer parks and keeping their existing parks open.
If you go down to the woods today