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Families back theme park in noise appeal

In the News
Tuesday, 19th July 2005 By Chris Bennett

Residents living near Alton Towers have rejected claims that noise levels at the attraction should be reduced.

Several home-owners living within half a mile of the park told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court that any noise coming from the site did not intrude on their lives.

Their admissions came on the sixth day of Alton Towers' appeal against a noise abatement order imposed last year.

The comments conflict with the views of Farley residents Stephen and Suzanne Roper, who had successfully brought a private prosecution against Tussauds - the theme park's owners - to enforce the noise restrictions.

The court's order limits the park to one 30-minute firework display a year and restricts noise produced by the rides and screaming thrill-seekers.

But retired construction worker Graham Blackburn, who lives 100 yards closer to Alton Towers than the Ropers, told the court he had "no complaints at all" with the noise.

Despite admitting the noise was "horrendous" during the five fireworks displays held annually at the theme park, he said the displays were "excellent" and should not be scrapped.

He told Judge William Everard, who is hearing the appeal alongside two magistrates: "We hear the traffic noise, the screaming and the general everyday noise. It's there all the time. But I do not notice it. It doesn't affect my life at all."

Anna O'Brien, who moved to Cedar Hill, Alton, from Surrey almost three years ago, agreed the noise had little impact on her life.

Mrs O'Brien, a clinical research associate who works from home, had signed a petition supporting the theme park.

She told Jonathan Caplan QC, representing Alton Towers, she would have to listen intently to hear the noise, and that her family enjoyed watching the fireworks from their lounge window.

She said: "We love the park being there and, having children, we go in there quite a few times a year.

"We have no problems with it being nearby."

But Beverley Ryan, who lives in the nearby village of Cotton, earlier told the court that the fireworks displays were louder than an overhead thunderstorm.

She told Stephen Hockman QC, representing the Ropers: "The level and intensity of the fireworks make it seem like a war zone. It's horrendous."

Alton Towers hopes to either completely overturn the order or at least make it less restrictive.

The appeal hearing continues.

Source: The Sentinel

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