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Thorpe Park, Merlin SMYTHEMAN ARCHITECTURAL

Thorpe Park, the popular Merlin Entertainment owned theme park in Surrey UK, has revealed plans this week for a new rollercoaster which ia set to be the tallest ride in the UK at 236ft and could be ready to open in 2024. It will beat the previous record holder, The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach which has held the tallest rollercoaster record since 1994. The last major attraction which opened at Thorpe Park was The Swarm back in 2012 so the announcement that Thorpe Park is set to open a new rollercoaster is extremely welcome news.

Merlin aim to revitalise Thorpe Park in the aftermath of COVID-19 to ensure it continues to grow and thrive. In a statement, Thorpe Park said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on admission numbers to the Resort. Thorpe Park Resort aims to continue to invest in the Park’s attractions to encourage more people to return to the Resort now that the tourism industry has re-opened. This key investment and the introduction of new attractions is critical to the Resort’s recovery from the COVID-related impacts on the business."

The site of the proposed new ride will include the former Old Town Area including Loggers Leap and will "involve the removal of existing rides on the development site and replacement with a new  rollercoaster. Visitors will be transported from the station structure around a new track over water in an exhilarating experience. A maintenance building is proposed to the west of the station building and there will be associated facilities provided such as a food and beverage outlet and photo shop."

The image below shows the existing site plan which shows the former Loggers Leap and Rocky Express as well as the proposal boundary.

Existing site plan, Thorpe Park
Image: Thorpe Park Merlin

The image below shows the proposed site plan including the new ride, maintenance building and plaza.

Proposed site plan, Thorpe Park Merlin
Image: Thorpe Park, Merlin

Thorpe Park commented on the new ride saying, "Visitors will be transported from the station structure around a new track over water in an exhilarating experience."

Although the proposed manufacturer for this new ride has not been officially announced yet, Thorpe Park has released a number of artist impressions credited to SMYTHEMAN ARCHITECTURAL to show what fans could be in store for with the new rollercoaster. These can be seen below where the scale and height of the new rollercoaster which has been named Project Exodus, can clearly be seen.

Artist Image, Thorpe Park New Ride
Image: SMYTHEMAN ARCHITECTURAL
Artist Image, Thorpe Park New Ride
Image: SMYTHEMAN ARCHITECTURAL
Artist Image, Thorpe Park New Ride
Image: SMYTHEMAN ARCHITECTURAL

Merlin are having to take special care in order to ensure the proposal site doesn't impact on the green belt area, "The site is Previously Developed land within the Green Belt and planning policy allows redevelopment and infill development where there is no greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt than existing development.",  "A detailed study will be submitted with the application to demonstrate that the proposals will not adversely affect views, or the openness of the Green Belt given the surrounding Theme Park development."

There will be a four-week public consultation on the rollercoaster plans which will run until January 7. There are also two virtual meetings for local residents on Monday, December 13. Members of the public can make their views heard on this new proposal here. The comments will be considered by Merlin before submitting a planning application in early 2022. 

The following timeline for the project has been outlined on the official proposal site:

  • Jan/Feb 2022 - Review consultation responses and final design development
  • Spring 2022 - Finalise and submit application to Council   
  • Late Spring/Summer 2022 - Planning decision issued by Council
  • Late 2022 - Start construction
  • TBC - New rollercoaster opens to public

To check out the full proposal and to keep up to date with developments, check out the official proposal site here. Let us know what your thoughts are on the new proposed ride at Thorpe Park for 2024 which is set to be the tallest in the UK by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page. 

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