February 2011 saw Thorpe Park submit a planning application for the installation of a rollercoaster on ‘Island Area C’. This would eventually be announced as The Swarm, a Bolliger & Mabillard Wing Coaster. It would be the second Wing Coaster model to open, after Raptor, the effective prototype, at Gardaland (an Italian theme park also owned by Merlin Entertainments) in April 2011.
The planning application provided a clear insight into the ambitious project, which would see one of the subsidiary man-made islands within the theme park’s boundaries fully developed into a functional area. A significant number of theming features were planned for the area, including a downed helicopter and plane, alongside a fully-themed, although roof-less, station. The development would also see a bridge linking the island to the main theme park constructed, as well as a themed toilet block. The plans closely aligned with what was ultimately realised, meaning the project was generally praised for delivering a highly-themed new area.
In early 2013, Thorpe Park announced that The Swarm would ‘mutate’ in the 2013 season, with its last two rows adapted to face backwards. They also announced the addition of a billboard theming feature through which the ride would ‘burst’ through, for which plans were submitted in February 2013.