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Project Exodus - New for 2024 (Hopefully)


Mysterio Ka
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So we have some more stuff to go through.

 

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Basically, the park have said they have nothing more to add about Objection 1 (the supports being in a bad flood zone), and have given more details about Objection 2.

 

There is also a General Correspondence document from the council towards the EA:

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In short, it appears that the council are confused by the EA's position (specifically about "Objection 2" I believe), and are seeking further clarifications.

As has been discussed in the past, whilst bodies like the EA can object to a development, the ultimate decision lies with the council. They can take these objections on board, but still decide to give approval, provided they give their reasoning. Seemingly, as things stand, the council side with Thorpe on Objection 2.
And with Objection 1, it seems that Thorpe have nothing more to say. But, the park do have history with construction in these 'bad' flood zones (Swarm being the key example, which the park have leaned on). Optimistically, one could suggest that the council would be more inclined to again side with Thorpe over the EA in this case too, given the history there.

The interesting subplot about this now that hasn't been mentioned really is timing. In the original, full, application, the park said they'd look to start construction in November. Obviously preliminary work would take place before then (and did earlier in the year). There's two things I wonder now:
1. Did the park stop doing preliminary work because of some uncertainty during all this? If so, has that delayed them? If not, why was construction going to start in November, when they anticipated a summer approval originally?
2. The absolute earliest this could be approved now is October, but even then, there's no guarantee it will be considered then. Could this be dragged out long enough that, if approved, construction starts later than planned? Will the park literally be having to play catch up from the word go?

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Entry to creak freak will be via the normal old town entrance round the left side of “the grill” unit. 
 

For Project Exodus is clearly delayed, clearly not what they expected to happen. This is quite humiliating to open this area again, considering it was once said it was “closed”.

 

The area has been cleaned up, clearly expected for the area to be ripped up into a building site.

 

In a few months, it will be a whole year since the consultation.

 

Is it going to happen? Has it been accounted for? Are Thorpe planning a backup?

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7 hours ago, coasterverse said:

Had a quick peek into the construction earlier today, seemed to be a fairly large group of people wearing high vis wandering about the area. Really does make you wonder what the fate of Exodus will be at the moment.

It is interesting isn’t it.

 

wonder if it’s fright nights related?  If they’re having to partially reopen old town for creek freak, they need to do some work in the area first.

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Was saying to Josh last night - I think we are looking at Summer 2024 now - at best. If it slips to 2025, then I really don't think Thorpe can get by on just "events" for the next 2 seasons.

 

Like I've said previously - I'd be surprised too if all goes to plan with construction and clearance, bear in mind that Loggers is 30 years old, there will 100% be pipes/infrastructure etc. that won't be accounted for underground, plus throw in the fact it's surrounded by water - not ideal.

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Well quite. What is the plan? Why is this the only investment, where's the smaller rides like some flat rides to keep the park ticking over. Where's the refurbishment for Inferno, Colossus, Stealth, Rush for example. 

 

Exodus can't be the only thing coming up. 

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With regards to the partial opening of Old Town:

The Construction Management Plan for Exodus did show the queue entrance for Creek Freak to be where Platform 15's was last year, with a bridge over the Loggers trough. The exit would then be a narrow pathway to the old train crossing by Samurai.

 

However, actual construction for Exodus was never planned to really kick off until November. There will be preliminary work that would have happened before, but the key work wasn't meant to start till November. So, technically, there is no delay

 

But with no approval in place, one has to wonder if they've paused the preliminary work. And one has to wonder why they've changed their original plan for Creek Freak's entrance. It could be purely innocent / a FN design choice, but it does raise eyebrows.

 

However, as has been mentioned, I do have concerns about delays. We still don't have approval. It's not set to be discussed in October, so it's likely that approval from the Council - if it happens - will come at November at the earliest. If that's the case, the park are up against it to stay on their original plan. And that doesn't account for any delays that could occur with groundwork, construction, getting parts delivered in a post-Brexit, Russian-war landscape. If the plan was to open this at the start of 2024, it is going to be very tight, and summer feels that bit more realistic. 

 

And yes, this doesn't even discuss the need for the park to invest in other rides and attractions too, which is a huge other discussion. 

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It is unfortunate that there is no approval and no date for it to be discussed. 

 

To be honest, they should have been working on a new coaster several years ago rather than wasting time with black mirror/derren brown. So I do hope they are really pushing and lobbying for this to happen asap as this is what they really need.

 

A new flat ride on the slammer location would be a nice way to tide people over but I doubt will help visitor numbers that much.

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They really need some new attractions for next year and year after. If we were to see some sort of smaller ride we would have seen planning permission go in for a March opening.

 

Unless they don’t need it?

 

They could also be wanting to focus on exodus to prevent delays and detracting attention.

 

Lost city rides are coming up to 20 years old, it’s always the same discussion. It’s a ticking time bomb, and the park will need multiple years of investment again.

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Yep - I think the

2 hours ago, jessica2 said:

To be honest, they should have been working on a new coaster several years ago rather than wasting time with black mirror/derren brown. So I do hope they are really pushing and lobbying for this to happen asap as this is what they really need.

 

A new flat ride on the slammer location would be a nice way to tide people over but I doubt will help visitor numbers that much.

 

Yep - Black Mirror doesn't exactly get massive queues considering it was new for 2021... and is a very slow throughput attraction. Was a good bit of fun when I did it earlier this year - mainly due to the actors - but it screams temporary and filler to me.

 

Do we just anticipate absolutely nothing "new" for 2023? Not that a playground and relocated Frog Hopper is much to write home about for 2022, but still. Maybe new for 2023 is the Tidal fire effect? :D

 

100% agree with Josh - there's literally nothing to stop them clearing the area now and prepare for construction - even without planning permission and get ready. I mean, yes, pausing things means they haven't got to build a bridge to get to Creak Freak and will save a few quid, but come on - there's no way that's the reason for re-opening Old Town for access to a maze in the grand scheme of things of a project of this size...

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2 hours ago, ML27 said:

Lost city rides are coming up to 20 years old, it’s always the same discussion. It’s a ticking time bomb, and the park will need multiple years of investment again.

 

Soz for double post - but this 100%. Samurai is having it's usual dead time, but then bear in mind it's 24 years old for crying out loud. We've seen it at Alton with Hex throwing a wobbly and CWOA with Scorpion deciding to end itself - these rides do not go on for ever, and when they decide to conk out, you just shift the queues elsewhere.

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3 hours ago, ML27 said:

They really need some new attractions for next year and year after. If we were to see some sort of smaller ride we would have seen planning permission go in for a March opening.

 

Unless they don’t need it?

 

In the past when the park applied for flat rides, they were usually submitting applications late summer / early autumn for them to open at start of season. The most recent comparable example would be the Dodgems in Angry Birds Land, which had its application submitted in December 2013, and opened in May 2014.

 

I've never been quite sure how Thorpe managed to place Timber Tug and Lumber Jump/High Striker without planning permission. There must be some loophole there I guess, especially given the size of the ride. But in short, if the park want a *new* ride which is of any sort of substance, we'd be seeing a planning application for it.

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I’d expect the environmental agency to still uphold their objections.

 

Going to Secretary of State, will definitely push it to a 2025 opening..

 

Nether the less, I’m glad to see the council support this application fully and it will more than likely happen at some point.

 

once that application is approved, can’t wait to relax

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We have a TPM article which details things a bit more. But for here...

 

In short: 

1. The Officer Report says that the council have been recommended to grant the application.

2. HOWEVER, as there are objections from the EA still in place, if it is granted, the application has to go to the Secretary of State for review. This could result in the council's decision ultimately being over-ruled.

 

The Officer Report basically supports Thorpe with regards to the EA's objections. It's also noted how frustrating dealing with the EA has been, with them taking 8-12 weeks to respond and log their issues, when the park have been very prompt with giving extra details. Indeed, the original expectation was that a decision would be reached 13 weeks after the application was submitted (back in MARCH), and the EA is effectively the sole reason this has not happened. Thorpe are aware of the potential issues that could come about with the application going to the Secretary of State for review.

 

I don't know what would happen during a review by the SoS, how long it could take or any potential issues / delays it could have. But presumably the park and their planning consultations are confident the application won't be rejected in any case, and are just so fed up with the EA at this point that they're pressing forward. This will hopefully mean they won't lose too much ground in terms of construction and still be able to open it in 2024.

 

So exciting times, but still with an asterisk next to it for now...

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Long Post Incoming.

 

The council have released a document explaining their reasoning as to why the committee should approve the application.

 

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It is a rollercoaster of a document, the council talks about how the application is inappropriate for the location it is in. (I will get back to this at the end of the post)

 

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The most interesting part of this document is the fact that the council acknowledges that “The timings for the responses from the Environment Agency have largely dictated the timescales for determination of this planning application”. 

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This extract basically says that the EA take 8-12 weeks to respond. We are fed up with waiting and they recognise Thorpe need to open it in 2024 in order to recover from covid. I am glad the council recognise this fact

 

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This highlights that even if the EA do respond. The first objection will not be overcome; so eitherway they will have to go to the Secretary of State.AE1CC62D-03F7-4111-B21C-3833E0B987A6.thumb.jpeg.80b80daf54a03de90db853d974637bdb.jpeg

 

The council do not think that it increases the flood risk and the EAs claim does not have substance.

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As discussed earlier, the development is not appropriate for the area it is built in, so they have to assess it for very special circumstances where they can build in a green belt area2A7E2E98-895C-4CE5-A8E0-8467B62847EB.thumb.jpeg.417fd8ca284551a52078fb51faf79d54.jpeg

 

These are the reasons why thorpe have to build in this green belt area (the council reviews each one in detail in the document and weighs each one up)

 

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They believe that the development outweighs any harm.

 

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The council recognises that it is a theme park and in order to expand they need to build on the land which is already existing as part of the themepark.

 

 

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They recommend to the committee that the application is approved under the following conditions (pretty standard, included for reference)

 

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plus any conditions the EA have…

 

 

OVERALL:

Glad to see the council recognising that they need to invest more and build more as a themepark and that they recognise that a theme park will always expand on its land and they put certain issues behind them.

 

Now the SOS will have to review the application (most likely) as I’m sure there are a quite a few applications like this, I think it will definitely go to the office of the Secretary of State and there will be a dedicated team for these issues. Looking for a December approval? Who knows, glad to see 2024 the council want it open by.

 

When it does get referred to the SOS, there is a way to view the application status for the public, previous small cases have taken from 6 months to over a year to approve

 

Edited by ML27
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oh the funny music the song, oh the funny music the song, oh the funny music the song

 

 

 

wobble wobble wobble wobble wobble wobble wobble but which way. there are THREE 

 

 

I'm from salford mate. you don't mess with people from salford

 

 

all sorts is going on. but the shadows are on your side as soon as the rides go down. in the darkest maze you can find, there's a clue to the hands of the times

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Tonight at 6:30pm, the Runnymede planning committee will meet to decline/ approve and refer to SOS the project exodus planning application.

 

There was an addendum to the meeting with a few points Thorpe Park would want to highlight to the committee.

 

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See above but not much is special about this. The interesting part is the last part, as shows they still want Exodus to happen regardless of the London Resort

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