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Alton Towers back in court

Park News
Thursday, 6th July 2006 By Dan Ketteringham

Alton Towers' legal team were back in court this week, as the Ropers saga continues to drag on.

As we reported in November last year, the legal proceedings between Mr & Mrs Roper and Tussauds has not ended, despite the couple having already won their case in November 2004, and the subsequent appeal by the park in 2005.

The courts ruled that Alton Towers were guilty of being a noise nuisance to local residents, and subsequently imposed a Noise Abatement Order on them. Despite the park complying with all the terms of the order, the couple were still not happy, believing that the judgement was too lenient, so they have now appealed against the decision.

Legally, each side is only allowed one appeal. Alton Towers already used theirs after losing the original case in 2004, so whatever happens at the end of the latest appeal will not be contestable by either side.

So, on Tuesday the legal representatives for Tussauds, the owners of the park, went back to court for an initial hearing on the case. The park's General Manager, Russell Barnes, was also present. In the park's staff newsletter, he had this to say: "Despite our dedication and commitment to complying with all elements of the abatement order placed upon us last year, we shall again be called back to court later this year to continue discussions.

"We have never felt that this case has reflected the level of actual complaints received, or the feelings of the majority of our local residents; and we are therefore at a loss to know, despite all our efforts, what more can be expected from us by its continuation."

The Ropers have already successfully forced the park into holding no more than three fireworks shows per year, and refused the park's offer of giving them money to eat out on the nights the fireworks were on display. Despite the park already stating that they cannot safely hold just one night of Fireworks - the park's 30,000 capacity would be breached by a long way - it is likely that the couple will seek to reduce it to one night as they originally intended. The vertical drop roller coaster Oblivion was also a focal point of the original hearings, so it is likely the couple will seek to have the ride heavily modified or even removed.

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