Roper update

General discussion regarding the UK's No.1 Theme Park. Talk about anything and everything Alton Towers here.
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Sam
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CoasterForce wrote:ALTON TOWERS, STAFFORDSHIRE, UK

Yesterday (2nd May 2012), Alton Towers lost a court hearing to overturn a decision to allow the local couple Mr & Mrs Roper to take their "noise complaint" to the high courts.

This means that Mr and Mrs Roper will now have a full high court hearing over their complaint about the noise levels coming from the theme park.

If they succeed in their high court case, they could force Alton Towers to either relocate, or even remove rides that are deemed too noisy.

If they lose the case, the financial impact on the couple could be horrendous. Click Read More for a rough time-line of events.
CF also have this very handy timeline:

Time-line of Alton Towers'/Roper dispute:

1811 - Major construction  on site - Alton Towers is essentially born.

Circa 1890 - Alton Towers opened for the first time as a tourist attraction.

1968 - Mr & Mrs Roper move in to their home in Farley.

Circa 1970 - Rides added to Alton Towers line-up.

1980 - John Broome installs Corkscrew and Alton Towers is reborn as the UK's premier theme park.

1998 - After some years of complaints to the local council, the Ropers start to look at what legal recourse is available.

2002 - Official legal battle begins.

2004 - Ropers win a civil claim against the park - held off whole they pursued criminal action.

2007 - Noise abatement order sought. Fireworks reduced (and then cancelled). "Don't look down" announcement removed from Oblivion.

2008 - Civil claim pursued as criminal case caught up in ownership issues.

January 2011 - Civil claim for injunction and damages (going back to 1998) thrown out of court.

November 2011 - Court allows for Ropers to appeal and pursue in the high courts - Alton Towers appeals this decision.

May 2012 - Alton Towers' appeal is overturned and the case can now be taken further with the high court. Mr & Mrs Roper pursuing strong injunction that rides compromise planning permission with regards to noise, and damages. If successful, rides breaching planning permission could be forced to close or be moved.
Last edited by Sam on Thu May 03, 2012 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jordan

Quite a good summary of the issues here: http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/Theme-park-noise-battle-reignited/story-15990916-detail/story.html.

Given that the Ropers barely live at their property in Farley for most of the year, it seems as if this is far more opportunistic than desperate.

Which rides in particular are they seeking an injunction against?
formula1fan

Oh, brilliant. :roll: They just won't give up this war against Towers, will they? And they hardly live at the property in Farley now, so it really baffles me as to why they're bringing this action. I sincerely hope that this case fails, even though the financial implications for the Ropers will be severe.
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smudge.
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Jordan wrote: Which rides in particular are they seeking an injunction against?
Oblivion I believe.

Do they have plans to take it to high court then? I cant see a jury or judge ruling that the park shuts/relocates/closes rides.

I know there is 'power to the people' etc but the whole claim is ridiculous & for me I can imagine this is now more of a hobby / principle matter than actually wanting anything to be done.
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Tom G
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This process will be the final curtain call for this long-running saga. One way or another, and possibly after an appeal, this will finally be resolved.

They've opposed the construction of every ride since Corkscrew, and the speakers were removed from Oblivion in 2004.

SW7 could be or has been acting as a catalyst for this. It's located within the area that they've complained most about.

I wonder how long it will take to come to court? It's going to be very interesting to follow.
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Sam
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I hope that if they seek an injunction against Oblivion, it'll make an appearance in court to defend itself.
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Johno
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I wonder how much the Ropers home is actually worth?

I would have expected that Merlin/AT would have already offered to purchase the house, if anything to use just as staff accommodation.
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Tom G
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Can anyone, purely for the sake of understanding how close they are to the noisy rides, identify where there house is on a map?

Its name is widely published in the media as Farley House.

It is also regularly reported that they live within 100 yards of the park's entrance, which could be open to some interpretation.
Satch

You would hope that the court looks at this from a commercial and local economy POV, not two stuffy residents who have been given ample opportunity to move.

Noise levels do not exceed environmental standards, what they are opposed to is people enjoying leisure activities in the countryside. Perhaps noise should be kept to urban areas, where residents should expect to hear delivery lorries and pottery works at all hours of the night and day...
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I just hope they lose this and face these grave financial difficulties. If the noise was as bad as they are making out then more people would be complaining about it and supporting them, and that clearly isn't the case.

:)
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James
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Tom G wrote: Can anyone, purely for the sake of understanding how close they are to the noisy rides, identify where there house is on a map?
I looked up the Ropers postcode (obviously I cannot post it on here) on Google maps and it shown there house is just over 200 yards away from Alton Towers, although no where near Oblivion, it shown there house is more near Spinball. That could just be a Google maps error though as it never gives an exact location of a postcode.
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The Ropers will get no where with this. I'm amazed that the courts are letting them continue this, very boring and never ending battle with Alton Towers/Merlin/Tussauds. All of Alton Towers rides fall within the noise restrictions and planning restrictions. They simply cannot be removed or relocated, unless Alton Towers have been breaking any of the restrictions (which is highly doubtful).

I think it's fair enough the Ropers have issues having lived in Farley before the theme park was born, Alton Towers has been a park that grew overnight into the UKs top theme park. However it's been 32 years now, 32 years and yet over the past decade they've continued to try and fight back, what's the point?

The majority of locals support Alton Towers. Alton provides people with jobs, helps the local economy, Alton Towers is cooperative with the planning of rides and supporting the heritage of the Towers and gardens. 

As for the Ropers, if they lose this that it'll leave them in a sticky financial situation. Even if they do lose this it won't damage them, they have a lot of money (if they didn't, why bother taking on such a big business?) so I highly doubt this will do much for them. If they lose, they'll only be back in two years back fighting again. 

If Alton Towers was really that much of a noise issue, it would have been closed down years ago. Wish the Ropers would do us a favour and give it up now.
formula1fan

I've hit upon a rather unusual idea. Would anybody be up for writing letters to Merlin in support of the park regarding this issue? As far as I'm aware, this hasn't been done before, but with possible ride closures and/or relocations being a possibility, I think this could be a good way to show our support for the park, despite its faults. Of course, the letters would have to be carefully worded so as to avoid inflammatory or libellous content, but the more support the park and Merlin can get regarding this, the better, in my opinion. :)
DiogoJ42

Could it be that the judge for the latest hearing has deliberately let this go to the High Court to end it once and for all? He might know that they don't have a leg to stand on and want's to see them loose everything to serve them right for wasting everyone's time?
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Its very easy to criticise the Ropers in this, and please do not think that I am on their side, as i'm not,

However, Alton Towers have exacerbated the problem countless times and are also at fault here as well.  Some of the installations that they have put in have not been sympathetic to their neighbours.  Take for instance Spinball, Nemesis and Oblivion.  All of these ARE noisy rides.  There is no way around this and this statement is 100% true.

Could they have sand filled Oblivion and Nemesis' track after installation to help with the sound issues?  The noise of Oblivion is also amplified even more due to the tunnel it travels through.

Even the recent planning application for SW7 to be put in an area of the park which is already loud due to Oblivion and being the subject of a high court case was also a very strange move, which may have influenced the Ropers decision to continue with the case.

Of course the biggest problem is and always has been traffic.  I come into Alton via Farley and pass close to their house and on busy days you wouldnt even be able to get out of the side roads due to traffic jams.  Again this could have been sorted out years ago if Tussauds and Merlin had pulled their fingers out and put their hands in their pockets to build a bypass.

Its very easy saying they should move, or that they are nimbys, however they have lived at their house for longer than its been a theme park and are in more of a position to say how loud it has become than any of us.  I know what its like living next to neighbours who are loud, I know what its like to listen to someone sat in their car for hours outside your house with the stereo booming away.

What I am trying to say is that we shouldnt bad mouth the Ropers simply because we dont know what conditions they have to live in.  Until we can sit in their garden on a summers day and hear how loud all the rides are, we will not know what they have to put up with.  Until we can sleep in their beds and at 8:30 on a peaceful Sunday morning to hear the Boom boom boom of car stereos racing through Farley getting to the park, we wont know what its like.

We will all at some point in our lives deal with noisy neighbours, but why should we up sticks and move on just because someone is noisy...  I think thats the crux of the matter with the Ropers and they feel like.. "Why should we move?"

As mentioned above, their lawyers would not have advised them to go forward if they didnt think they had a case.

Interesting times indeed....
Last edited by Colossus on Thu May 03, 2012 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
formula1fan

DiogoJ42 wrote: Could it be that the judge for the latest hearing has deliberately let this go to the High Court to end it once and for all? He might know that they don't have a leg to stand on and want's to see them loose everything to serve them right for wasting everyone's time?
Quite possibly, Diogo. In fact, I'd love to see this go to the Supreme Court. :lol:
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Tom G
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For everyone dismissing their case, the park were found guilty in 2004. Hence the removal of the Oblivion speakers and the cancelling of the fireworks. It's not a dead cert that the Ropers will lose.
Last edited by Tom G on Thu May 03, 2012 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dormiens-Dave

Alton Towers has been a site of recreation for over 100 years with massive classical concerts on the lawns and firework displays dating back long before the Ropers lived there. The idea that Alton Towers as a leisure pursuits is purely based on when the Corkscrew was installed, they had roller coasters and rides on the site before 1980 and leisure pursuits for many years before.

This just seems stupid to me, if the high court rules in favour of the Ropers then the staffordshire economy will take a very big hit.
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Sam
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Tom G wrote: Can anyone, purely for the sake of understanding how close they are to the noisy rides, identify where there house is on a map?

Its name is widely published in the media as Farley House.

It is also regularly reported that they live within 100 yards of the park's entrance, which could be open to some interpretation.
Based on what James said, my guess:

Image
Last edited by Sam on Thu May 03, 2012 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dormiens-Dave

That house is owned by Towers i think

Anyway it would be appreciated if people didn't identify the Ropers house on the forums, if you do please remember the contents of your posts are your responsibility legal or otherwise.
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Tom G
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That was one of my suspect sites as well Sam, especially since Oblivion's top can be clearly seen from their garden (a judge visited in 2004 and said so).

However, according to Google maps, that house is within Alton Towers' boundaries, but I don't know how accurate that is. It's also more than 100 yards from any 'entrance' I can think of.

I can understand that idenitifying their house could be seen as a slightly contentious issue, but the fact is that the house is frequently referred to by its unique name in the media and in court - both public domains. We should not worry about identifying it here, I'm sure once its location is revealed, people might be a little more considerate of how close they actually are (if that's the case).
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