Originally submitted in April 2014, the plans for the Haunted House attraction were initially refused by the Royal Borough of Winsor and Maidenhead Council, despite having been recommended for approval by planning officers, citing concerns regarding ‘inappropriate development in the Green Belt’, and that the development generating an increase of traffic to the area.
In determining the outcome of the appeal, the planning inspector addressed a number of the issues raised by the Council both in their original refusal of the application, and throughout the Public Enquiry during the appeal process. It was determined that, due to the fact the new attraction is within an already defined development area, would fit within a small gap between existing attractions and not exceed the height of existing buildings, and not harm existing tree, the attraction would be unlikely to be visible from outside the Resort.
One of the biggest issues raised by the Council as part of their refusal of the original plans was the impact the new addition would have on traffic on local roads with the Council suggesting the attraction would lead to an increase in visitor numbers and therefore extra pressure on the transport network. During the appeal Legoland argued that visitor numbers do not automatically increase with the addition of a new attraction. Using the example of the 2015 addition of ‘Heartlake City’ as an example, the Resort said that even with this addition they expected visitor numbers to be similar to those seen in 2014. It was recognised that in order to survive and compete in a ‘highly competitive market’ it is necessary to continually refresh the offering and that failure to do so can lead to the demise of a successful attraction. The planning inspector also acknowledged that, rather than being a headline attraction, the Haunted House would serve to add to the offering and help relieve the pressure on other rides within the theme park. Also highlighted was the Resort’s strategy to promote itself as a short break destination which was seen as something which would remove the time pressure on visitors therefore allowing them to travel at off-peak times. Having been presented with a range of evidence surrounding the traffic conditions around the park, the planning inspector came to the conclusion that any additional traffic generated would not be significant within the context of the traffic already on the roads around the Resort.
The new attraction will be situated to the south east of the ‘Boating School’ and ‘Driving School’. Described in plans as a ‘Haunted House Ride Experience’ visitors will enter the new attraction through a themed queue line featuring a graveyard and spider’s web, before entering from the front entrance which will replicate a traditional haunted house and be based on the current Lego ‘Monster Fighters’ brand. Once inside, guests will experience a 10 metre drop tower ride experience, similar to that currently used at Alton Towers Resort’s Nemesis: Sub Terra. In order to accommodate the new attraction a range of landscaping works will be carried out including the widening of existing footpaths. Currently, there is no timescale for when the new attraction will be constructed and opened at the Resort.
Are you pleased to see the Haunted House attraction given the go ahead? Have your say on this and more over on the Attraction Source Forum. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on developments throughout the closed season and bring you the latest as we get it.