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Ropers case finally comes to a close

Park News
Saturday, 15th October 2005 By Dan Ketteringham

The legal battle between Alton Towers and Mr & Mrs Roper has finally concluded.

On Friday, the terms of the Noise Abatement Order were set at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court. The park will now have to keep noise levels below 40 decibels, which is less restrictive than the original order.

The battle between the Ropers and Alton Towers has been a very long one, starting more than a decade ago. Stephen and Suzanne Roper lived in Farley before the park started its transformation into the theme park we know today. Gradually, as noise levels at the park increased, the couple became more and more unhappy until they finally launched legal action against Tussauds, the park's owner.

The case started in mid-2004, with the judge ruling against Tussauds' favour in November that year. The company was fined the maximum amount for Noise Nuisance - £5,000 - and a Noise Abatement Order was served on the park. This meant that noise from certain parts of the park, for example PA systems or the ride Oblivion, had to be reduced in stages by certain dates.

However, the park appealed against the ruling, with the battle resuming mid-July 2005, after some of the original noise restrictions had come into force. On the 22nd July, the park lost their appeal and it meant that the Noise Abatement Order would remain in place indefinitely.

All was not lost, though. The terms of the Order would need to be re-fought too, and this finally happened on Friday. A level of 40db is better than what the Ropers' solicitor had tried to persuade the court to impose - a level of 30db.

With the Order's details finalised, this should mean an end to the legal proceedings. However, the park must be extremely careful not to exceed the restrictions, for fear of receiving further fines.

There is one piece of good news, however - the judge also ruled that the park could go ahead with its planned 3 nights of fireworks, on 28th - 30th October. This is more than the one night originally imposed in the 2004 Order. If you are planning to attend the fireworks, please remember that they are pre-book only.

We hope that this will be the end to the matter, and that the park can move forward despite the restrictions it now faces.

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