Alton Towers has received planning permission for the construction of its new roller coaster for the 2013 season, codenamed "Secret Weapon 7".
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council approved the plans for the new ride at a meeting on Thursday, in the face of opposition from local residents. The parish councils of Alton and Farley, the two villages that sit alongside Alton Towers, had both voiced strong concerns about the impact the new ride will have on traffic levels in the area.
SW7 will feature at least 8 inversions and 2 lift hills, and will be located alongside the existing Oblivion roller coaster in the X-Sector area of the park. Alton Towers claims that the ride will feature a "world's first" element, the nature of which is yet to be confirmed.
Planners had recommended approval for Alton Towers' plans for SW7, although the park is expected to have to fund £100,000 in road improvements in order to proceed. It is forecast that traffic through Alton and Farley could increase by as much as 5.5 percent during the summer 2013 season.
The new addition will be the most expensive attraction ever installed at Alton Towers, with the £20 million budget topping the £15 million spent on constructing Thirteen in 2010. In common with the rest of X-Sector, the ride will feature a futuristic theme, as seen in the park's concept art for SW7.
Alton Towers released a statement following confirmation of the planning approval, with Operations and Development Director Mark Kerrigan saying: "This is fabulous news for us, as it means we can now start the development process properly to ensure that this magnificent new addition to our already world-class stable of thrill rides is ready for the start of our 2013 season."
“Continued investment in high quality, innovative new rides and attractions is vital to us if we are to maintain our position as the UK’s leading Resort Theme Park and in turn contribute to the long term economic stability that we bring to the surrounding area."
"This new rollercoaster will continue to diversify the range of attractions available at the Resort, which will enhance our visitor offer even more and ensure we continue to attract visitors. It will also allow us to dedicate funding to Staffordshire Highways and into the important historic gardens and listed buildings."
For more details of Alton Towers' new addition for 2013, see Theme Park Tourist's detailed breakdown of the SW7 plans.
You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.