Alton Towers is seeking planning permission for an unspecified wooden ride, a new application shows.
The ride – described as “of timber truss construction” – will feature tunnels, ground level changes, a station and pre-show building.
The proposal is described as involving the removal of existing rides and structures, and will have maximum height above ground level of 14.5 metres.
The extent and layout of the ride is not yet clear, but it will at least partly feature in the Forbidden Valley area of the theme park.
The Blade ride is leaving the park this season, and the adjacent Ripsaw ride has also been earmarked for removal under previously-published plans.
127 trees would require removal as part of the construction of the ride, which would extent into the adjacent woodland to an unknown degree.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been determined as not being required by Staffordshire Moorlands Council after Alton Towers submitted a screening application earlier this year.
One or more of the high points of the ride would be enclosed within “sound tunnels”, according to the council decision statement.
A full planning application is now expected to be submitted later this year, with the project widely expected to form the next major ride addition to Alton Towers in 2017.
Major ride projects at Alton Towers are colloquially known as ‘secret weapons’ – with the latest project likely to be unofficially subbed as Secret Weapon Eight (SW8).
The “timber truss” construction strongly suggestive of a wooden rollercoaster, although such rides have been branded as unmarketable by Merlin Entertainments CEO Nick Varney in several interviews.
American wooden rollercoaster manufacturers Rocky Mountain Construction have been rumoured to be bringing a ride to the UK, after admitting to having “had some interest” from unknown British parks in recent months.
The latest documents reveal how Alton Towers expects to see a 5% increase in traffic and 120,000 visitors added to its attendance in the ride’s opening year.