€15.5m Tayto Park rollercoaster suffers setback after local residents object to revised plans

Plans by Tayto Park to have its planned €15.5m ‘Coaster 2021’ project operational for next year have suffered a major setback.

This follows two of the objectors, who successfully blocked businessman Raymond Coyle’s previous version of ‘Coaster 2021’ last year, lodging an objection against the new proposal with Meath County Council.

Donal Greene and Clare Smith have lodged their objection against the plan in spite of Mr Coyle claiming that the screams by passengers on the planned new rollercoaster won’t impact on nearby residents.

The new rollercoaster comes with a series of specific measures aimed at eliminating any noise impacts for nearby residents.

Mr Coyle said last month: “There will be screams, but they will be drowned out.”

Last July, An Bord Pleanála turned down planning permission for Mr Coyle’s previous rollercoaster plan due mainly to noise impacts from rollercoaster passengers’ screams on residents.

The new ‘Coaster 2021’ project 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.

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

The new plan contains 14 separate noise reduction measures drawn up by Dutch rollercoaster maker, Vekoma, which has made rollercoasters across the world such as Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain for Disney.

Now, Mr Greene and Ms Smith have told the Council that the planned rollercoaster “will have a serious negative long-term impact on our peaceful enjoyment of our home and the protection of the natural environment”.

Tayto Park opened for business in 2010 and the two said: “We are local residents, living approximately 700 metres from the entrance to Tayto Park. We have lived in the area since 2013 and our family has been based in this area since the 1970s.

They contend “that aside from proposals to make some noise abatement modifications to the development, the proposed new development is the same as the previous application”.

They said: “In this regard, all of our previously stated concerns about a development of this scale and intensive nature still stand. Any modifications proposed in this application do not alter any of its substantive deficiencies."

The two said that the grounds and reasoning behind the An Bord Pleanála decision still stand “as no amendments have been made to counter the various issues they found to exist”.

The two state that these issues include that the proposal’s close proximity to residential dwellings would injure the amenities of property in the vicinity and would pose an unacceptable risk to environmental pollution.

Mr Greene and Ms Smith said: “We urge the Council to consider our objections to this development of inappropriate scale for this rural area given its scale, size, intensive nature and the environmental risks associated with it”.

The objection now sets up the prospect of the application going before An Bord Pleanála if Meath County Council do grant the project planning permission.

Last year, Mr Greene and Ms Smith appealed the decision to grant along with two other residents and the appeals process took four months before the application was refused.

Even if the project secures planning permission this Summer, any decision to appeal ends the prospect of 'Coaster 2021' becoming operational in 2021 as the roller coaster will take one year to construct and six months to erect.

Mr Coyle would only say today that he is “disappointed” over the objection lodged.

Mr Coyle had met with the objectors to the original plan, including Mr Greene, and showed the new plan that includes the noise reduction measures.

A decision is due on the application later this month by Meath County Council.

Pre-tax profits at Tayto Park declined by 7% to €3.37m in 2018 in spite of a 6% increase in revenues to €18.7m.

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