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Alton bypass plans scrapped

In the News
Wednesday, 17th December 2008 By Dan Ketteringham

After years of negotiations, Alton Towers have decided against building a bypass to ease traffic congestion.

The decision was announced by the park's bosses last night at a meeting of Alton Parish Council.

The relief road, which would have cost the park around £15 million - equivalent to the cost of several new rides - was deemed "unfeasible" by park bosses, as they claim it would only be needed over a handful of weeks at the height of the open season.

They also claim that traffic to the resort is decreasing, citing that during this year's season nearly half a million cars parked there - 100,000 less than in the years leading up to 2000.

This is disputed by local residents, who argue that the narrow and winding roads are very busy for most of the season.

Tony Moult, Chairman of Alton Parish Council said that members had been left very disappointed by the decision at the end of a "lively" meeting, saying: "it looks as though we will have to just put up with the traffic.

"We were hopeful something would be done. Alton Towers has spent a lot of time and money on researching this scheme. We do not envisage there will be any movement on any scheme now for the next 10 years.

"There does not seem a lot of hope. The roads through the village cannot be widened."

Deputy chairman of the parish council Arthur Forrester said: "I was not surprised. I would not think you could justify spending £15 million on that road."

Defending their decision, Alton Towers said they consulted with the local councils extensively before reaching their decision. They also cited their move towards being more of a "destination" than just a day-trip theme park, meaning more families would be staying longer and travelling in fewer cars.

Mark Kerrigan, who is head of development, said: "No business would be expected to invest such a substantial sum of money for something that may only make a difference for a month or six weeks of the year.

"That said, we are mindful of the effects of the Alton Towers Resort on our local community. Indeed, we have spent many hundreds of hours, and hundreds of thousands of pounds investigating the various routes that were suggested.

"We believe this decision is the right one to balance the significant economic benefits that Alton Towers brings to the local community."

Source: The Sentinel

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