The UK government will decide the fate of Thorpe Park’s proposed 2024 rollercoaster after the local council moved to approve plans.
Runnymede Borough Council (RBC) unanimously approved the long-standing proposals in a meeting on Thursday, but will now need to submit the application to the central government.
A months-long dispute involving the Environment Agency (EA) has meant that the ‘Project Exodus’-codenamed ride has been delayed due to flooding concerns.
The EA’s outstanding objections mean that the local council must refer the planning application to the UK government, to give them the opportunity to intervene.
In certain circumstances, the Secretary of State (SOS) for ‘Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ has the authority to decide planning applications rather than letting the local authority decide.
The government will now decide to either ‘call-in’ the application for further review, or dismiss the EA’s concerns and allow approval to proceed.
The timeframe for the SOS’s decision is not yet clear, but the process could potentially take several months.
The 236-foot (72-metre) tall rollercoaster would be the tallest in the United Kingdom if built.
It would also be the UK’s fastest such ride if its theoretical 81 mph design is realised.
Its layout has however been strongly criticised by rollercoaster enthusiasts for its seemingly short length, indicated by planning documents.
RBC and consultants acting on behalf of Thorpe Park are likely to engage with the EA in the meantime in an attempt to reach a resolution.
The ride was scheduled to open by March 2024, but Thorpe Park recently warned that its construction timeframe is under threat due to the ongoing delays.