Alton Towers has filed an environmental screening query with local authorities, as it looks to progress a new indoor attraction.
The park is seeking advice on whether an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be required as part of a planning application.
The unspecified indoor attraction has been described as having a construction time of between 12 and 14 months, consultant planners Lichfields said.
Although the development is being referred to as an ‘attraction’ in all documents seen so far, it is widely expected to be a singular ride and a major capital investment by Alton Towers.
Recent comments by veteran ride concept designer John Wardley, who remains with the theme park as a consultant, suggest that the new attraction could be a rollercoaster.
Dubbed ‘Project Horizon’ by planners, it will likely be the first major investment at Alton Towers since the Wicker Man rollercoaster, which opened in 2018.
The new ride’s scheduled opening date has not yet been stated, but the quoted construction timeframe means that the start of the 2024 season is a possibility.
The new building is described as having a “hipped roof” and a “dark, unreflective” nature. It will have dimensions of up to:
- Length: 246 feet (75 metres)
- Width: 187 feet (57 metres)
- Height: 66 feet (20 metres)
Lichfields appear to rule out any significant excavation of the site, and as such the ride is not expected to sit below ground level within the building.
The “noise and vibration” of the attraction whilst it is in operation will be dampened by its enclosed nature, planners say.
A new plaza will also be created as part of the development, but it is not clear if it will form part of a new themed area within Alton Towers.
An “entrance feature” will however be constructed at the start of the plaza.
The proposal is currently being referred to as Project Horizon, although there is considerable interest as to whether or not Alton Towers will apply its long-running ‘secret weapon’ working title at a later stage.
The planning team is of the view that an EIA is not required. If Staffordshire Moorlands District Council agree, then a full planning application could appear later this year.
The council’s decision on the requirement for an EIA is expected by 18 October.