Theme park allowed to make noise

Date:

23/03/2007

Source:

BBC News

Matter:

Roper - Alton Towers

A couple have failed in their High Court bid to get Alton Towers amusement park to reduce noise levels.

In 2004 owner Tussauds Theme Park was ordered to cut noise levels after complaints from Stephen and Suzanne Roper who live 100 yards (91m) away.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court later raised the noise levels allowed under the order, and the couple decided to fight that decision in the High Court.

Mr Justice Wilkie said residents must expect some noise from Alton Towers.

He added that the crown court was justified in refusing to impose a "more exacting standard" on the park and rejected the Ropers' claim that the ruling was "irrational" and that the court had "taken leave of its senses".

Jonathan Caplan QC, for Tussauds, told the court that that the company had spent "a little under half a million pounds" in legal costs during the dispute.

The Ropers' own legal bills are expected to run into five figures.

In 2004, Tussauds was fined the £5,000 by magistrates who imposed a noise abatement order after complaints from the couple, from Farley.

The company appealed and the crown court reduced the fine to £3,500 and relaxed the abatement order, raising the permissible noise level from 32 to 40 decibels.

'Not fussed' by costs

But the couple felt it did not control noise levels from concerts and fireworks displays and that there was no adequate system in place to monitor sound levels.

They also complained about the shrieks from people enjoying the theme park's white-knuckle rides.

Their solicitor, Richard Buxton, said they felt the noise issue was so important that they were "not fussed" by the costs.

The couple had succeeded in the earlier hearings in having some restriction on the noise level coming from the park.

He said: "This case has shown that members of the community can stand up to big business and they can achieve a real result which the court considers will make a real difference.

"We will have to see whether the abatement order works."