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Towers fails to turn over ruling on noise

In the News
Friday, 22nd July 2005 By Dan Ketteringham

Alton Towers have failed in their bid to overturn an order which limits noise levels at the theme park.

An appeal judge yesterday ruled that noise from screaming thrillseekers, tannoy announcements, music events and fireworks displays caused a 'statutory nuisance' for home owners living near the site.

But details of any new noise abatement order will not be known until both sides have argued their case later today.

Alton Towers' owners Tussaud's had lodged an appeal after Farley residents Stephen and Suzanne Roper won a private case against them in a magistrates' court in November.

They had objected to incessant noise from mechanical rides and screaming on a daily basis, and from special events such as concerts and fireworks displays.

The Ropers, who moved into their house in 1968, claimed Alton Towers went on to make their lives a misery as the attraction expanded over the years.

The current order handed out by a district judge limits the park to one 30-minute firework display a year and restricts the noise produced by the rides.

The two-week appeal at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard evidence from a number of residents living close to the Ropers who backed their objections, as well as sound experts for both sides.

Beverley Ryan, of Cotton, had compared noise from the attraction to a "war zone".

The court also heard from other residents living within half a mile of the attraction, who heard noise but felt it did not intrude on their daily lives.

But Judge William Everard, sitting alongside two magistrates, said in his ruling they either lived too far away from the attraction to be relevant to the case, or admitted the attraction caused considerable noise.

He added that evidence given by the Ropers had been "honest" and "compelling", and was backed by other residents living in their area.

Judge Everard also said he needed to take into account the "cumulative impact" of the different noises on the Farley area.

Speaking outside court, Mr Roper welcomed the verdict. "We are delighted, but more relieved than anything because this has been going on for two years," he said.

"But I do not want to comment further until the details of the sentence are sorted out."

Tracy Burton, head of marketing for Alton Towers, said she hoped a compromise could be found.

She said: "Obviously we are disappointed with the ruling but we need to come back and see where we are with the abatement order. Hopefully, we will get to the point where we can come to a workable solution on the order.

"We've already reduced music levels and tannoy levels. We've always endeavoured to be good neighbours and we will continue to do that."

Source: The Sentinel

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