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Still hope for fireworks display

In the News
Saturday, 23rd July 2005 By Dan Ketteringham

Alton Towers are hopeful their annual fireworks spectacular can still go ahead.

Managers at the theme park have started detailed negotiations in an attempt to overcome concerns over the affects on neighbours.

An appeal judge has ruled that noise from screaming thrillseekers, 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 and they are due to return to court in mid-September.

But in the meantime a spokesman for Alton Towers confirmed talks would concentrate on reaching an amicable agreement with neighbours over the annual fireworks spectacular which attracts thousands.

She said: "Time is of the essence with regard to the fireworks and we are hopeful we will be able to reach an agreement with interested parties."

Russell Barnes, general manager at Alton Towers, added: "Naturally we are disappointed with this judgement and do not believe it reflects local opinion.

"However we have had an excellent season so far and our new ride Rita Queen Of Speed is now our top performer. We are determined to move forward positively and to agree mutually acceptable terms of the abatement order as soon as possible."

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 last year.

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.

Judge William Everard, sitting at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court with two magistrates, said yesterday that they were mindful of allowing fireworks on two consecutive nights in early November and two consecutive nights no later than September 5.

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 heard evidence from a number of residents living close to the Ropers who backed their objections, as well as sound experts for both sides.

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 Everard said in his ruling they either lived too far away from the attraction to be relevant to the case, or admitted that 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.

The case was adjourned to a further hearing at Birmingham Crown Court in mid-September.

Source: The Sentinel

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