The Environment Agency (EA) has raised major objections to plans for a new rollercoaster at Thorpe Park.
Citing flood risks and natural habitat incursions, the EA offered a potential route to remediation which could force the ride to be built on another site within the park.
In order for the EA to be satisfied, ride planners will need to demonstrate that all other potential ride locations within Thorpe Park are of greater risk than the proposed location.
Plans for what would be the UK’s tallest, and possibly fastest, rollercoaster were submitted to the Runnymede Borough Council in March this year.
Under planning regulations, Thorpe Park will now need to satisfy the EA that it is addressing the sources of their objections.
Alternatively ride planners can apply directly to the UK government for permission to build as the proposals stand, but this is unlikely to be successful for a project of relatively small scale.
The £18 million project, dubbed ‘Exodus’, could now be delayed beyond what was previously understood to be a March 2024 target opening.
In its letter of objection filed on Thursday, the EA said the proposed location – the former Loggers Leap site – falls within a flood risk category that is “inappropriate”.
It proposes that planning permission is refused on this basis.
“The only way the applicant can overcome our in-principle objection is to demonstrate that the [ride] is not within [named floodplain],” the letter read.
It added that there had also been insufficient assessment of flooding risks to people in the application.
The EA had a further objection on the rollercoaster’s construction, based on it encroaching on water features that have “significant nature conservation value”.
Those concerns follow on from Natural England raising a similar objection last month.