Details have emerged today of a proposed new ride for the Forbidden Valley area of Alton Towers Resort, offering the first clues to the much anticipated Secret Weapon 8 – currently expected to open in 2017.
The details have been revealed through a ‘Formal Screening Option’, a document which is submitted by anyone undertaking a major development to determine if they are required to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment as part of the planning process. Described within the report is a proposal for:
“Demolitions and removal of existing buildings and ride structures. Construction of new ride including tunnels, ground level changes, maintenance building, station, shop and pre-show building all with combined maximum total floor area of 1130sqm, single storey building to maximum height of 6m and two storey to maximum height of 7.5m. The new ride would have a 14.5m maximum height.”
This description indicates that the development being proposed for the resort is the widely anticipated Secret Weapon 8. Described as being located ‘nearby Nemesis’, and 75 metres away from the listed Prospect Tower (which is currently undergoing extensive restoration), suggesting the development could be located on a large area in the vicinity of Forbidden Valley, potentially over the current site of the Forbidden Valley Burger Kitchen, especially as the report describes that ‘at its northern end [the development] would allow such [theme park] character to spread slightly further than existing into the currently non-assessed early-mature woodland screening’. Also indicated within the report is the visibility impact the development would have on the surrounding landscape. Although no specifics are mentioned, three ‘high points’ are identified for the new ride, with ‘highpoint A’ being visible through the existing tree cover, although this point would be lower than the highest part of Nemesis.
One of the most intriguing elements of the report details the proposed type of construction of the new ride. Current details describe the ride being of ‘timber truss construction’ and suggests that this would minimise the visual impact of the development, keeping it sympathetic to the surrounding woodland. Also of interest is how ‘one or more’ of the high points would be ‘enclosed within “sound tunnels” which could possible hint towards a ride which is at least a wooden hybrid.
The report also indicates that the overall increase in traffic to the Resort as a result of the new installation would be approximately 5%, a figure which is much lower than the increase in traffic expected from previous additions.
These latest proposals follow on from the recent planning application for an extension to the Air Shop to include a Rollercoaster Restaurant, indicating that over the next 2 years Forbidden Valley, one of the oldest areas in the park, will be receiving a major overhaul. It will also mean that the area will become the first in the park to become home to three Secret Weapon rides as the new addition will sit alongside Nemesis (SW3) and Air (SW5).