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Green light for €15.5m Tayto Park rollercoaster after two-year planning battle

There have been more than a few ups and downs in the saga.

Image: Tayto Park

AN BORD PLEANÁLA has given the green light to Tayto Park for a new €15.5 million ‘Coaster 2021’ rollercoaster for the theme park.

The grant of permission by the appeals board clears the way for the construction of the rollercoaster which is made up of a 31 metre high and 748 metre long Suspended Thrill Coaster (STC) and a 24.2 metre high 238 metre long Family Boomerang (FB) ride.

The decision brings to an end a two year four month long planning battle by Tayto Park owner Raymond Coyle to secure planning permission for the new attraction.

A previous rollercoaster proposed for Tayto Park was refused planning permission in July 2019 by the appeals board due, in part, to the noise impact of people’s screams from the rollercoaster on residents’ properties.

Now, the board has overruled its own inspector, Dolores McCague who recommended that planning permission be refused for the new project.

McCague recommended that planning be refused due to the the noise impact on nearby residential homes and that it would depreciate the value of properties in the area.

Coyle’s Ashbourne Visitor Centre Ltd’s revised plans provides for a planned spend on €1.5 million on 14 separate noise reduction methods.

However, during the course of her 58 page report, McCague stated that the application did not reveal the noise impact from screaming by patrons on the rollercoaster.

McCague stated: “A scream is a primitive sound, calling out danger and shouting for help. It is a particularly distinctive sound. Screaming has a much more visceral impact on the listener than any other sound.”

McCague also recommended that planning permission be refused as the development would exacerbate the capacity and congestion issues on the N2.

However, the board found that the proposed development would not have an adverse impact on population and human health associated with noise.

The board stated that it was satisfied that the mitigation measures proposed are adequate and acceptable. The board also found that the proposal would not exacerbate the current identified capacity and congestion issues on the N2.

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The board decision upholds a decision by Meath County Council to grant planning permission for the project last year.

However, the proposed development came before the appeals board after local residents, Donal Greene & Clare Smith along with Jeremy Butcher appealed the Council decision.

Plans for the new rollercoaster have been drawn up by Dutch rollercoaster maker, Vekoma which has made rollercoasters across the world such as Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain for Disney.

Coyle has already promised that any screams by passengers will be drowned out.

The designers reoriented the tracks to direct noise back into the park and away from housing in the area and some of the other noise-reducing design features include three tunnels; underground sections; extensive planting of trees, shrubbery and foliage and a 6m high and 100m long sound barrier.

Planning documentation lodged with the plan by Tayto Park stated if the rollercoaster doesn’t proceed “the longer-term viability of the Park would be brought into question”.

About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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