A landmark appeal decision has clarified the planning status of amusement park rides in the United Kingdom.
Crealy Great Adventure Park had been advised by East Devon District Council that it could erect a rollercoaster (pictured) and swinging pirate ship without the need for planning permission as the park benefitted from “Permitted Development Rights.” However, after the rides were constructed in 2000 and 2002, the council decided that retrospective planning permission was needed.
Crealy then asked the planning specialist RPS to advise on a way forward. RPS advised that planning permission was no longer required as the rides in question had been in situ for more than four years, so an application was made instead for a “Lawful Development Certificate.”
The council refused both applications, stating that amusement park rides are a use of land, not operational development; therefore they need to have been operating for 10 years in order to be lawful.
Supported by the BALPPA, RPS appealed both refusals on behalf of Crealy, arguing that both rides are substantial operational developments in their own right and are therefore immune from enforcement after four years. The Inspector accepted RPS’s case and allowed both of the appeals, stating that the council could not take enforcement action against them.
“This is an important case and affects any amusement park ride in the UK that is physically attached to the ground (as opposed to travelling rides) built between four and 10 years ago,” highlights RPS director Nick Laister. “Such rides are lawful after four years, not 10, and if they are operating in an amusement park, adventure park or similar attraction, a council is unable to take enforcement action against their use. Crealy and RPS are both grateful for BALPPA’s considerable support in this appeal.”
RPS has also secured planning permission for the same park’s log flume and carousel rides along with a Lawful Development Certificate for the park as a whole, in addition to a resolution to grant planning permission for a 30-unit holiday park on the site.
Crealy plans coaster makeover
One of the rides at the centre of the recent planning appeal is to get a new lease of life. Crealy is to spend £150,000 reinventing its Devon park’s Pastil Loco rollercoaster (pictured) as Maximus, a Roman-themed ride which will re-open in time for February school holidays.
The park has appointed local building contractor Michael Thorne to complete the transformation, which involves covering the highest section of track, and a complete retheme of the surrounding structure. The design for the theming was prepared by Mark Golding at Space Leisure.
The Vekoma ride originally opened in 2000 and has become one of the park’s most popular rides, along with the Swinging Queen Bess pirate ship and Tidal Wave log flume.