VISITORS to a popular Wyedean attraction have been given a ticket to ride, despite residents claiming that two new zip wires will mean more “screaming, shouting and swearing.”
More than 170 villagers living near the National Diving and Activity Centre at Tidenham signed a petition opposing the plan for the 580m-long rides, claiming that two existing rides already made their lives a misery.
But Forest councillors gave the go ahead after hearing that further measures would be taken to soundproof the zip wires.
The planning committee voted eight to two in favour, with two abstentions, after hearing that nearly 1,500 users and supporters had signed counter petitions backing the scheme, claiming it would boost tourism and create jobs.
Councillors rejected a similar scheme last July by a single vote, but were swayed this time by “noise mitigation” work on the two current rides in consultation with acoustic consultants Sound Barrier Solutions, which centre boss Darren Bryce said would help solve potential noise problems.
Residents claimed no improvement since the tests, and urged a delay to any planning approval until extra soundproofing was independently shown to stop “intrusive” noise.
Keith Bryant said: “The screaming and shouting is bad enough, but the piercing and wailing whine of the zip line itself, like a jet aircraft landing nearby, is the most disturbing.”
He also described as “outrageous” centre claims that residents had “compounded” the noise problem by felling around ‘2,500 trees’, with probably less than a tenth of that number being removed.
Neighbour Nick Slattery said the “siren-like” noise and shouts and screams were “horrendous”.
“Hearing the noise almost all day long drives me to distraction. Any suggestion that operating four wires will not significantly increase the general disturbance levels... is frankly ridiculous,” he claimed.
But one scheme backer, James Jones, said he had recently seen a hen party on national TV show Don’t Tell The Bride zip wiring and having fun at the centre without any shouting or screaming, and the plan would bring more people to the area.
“I have been on the zip and must say it’s wicked,” he said.
Tidenham Parish Council also backed the scheme following the updated noise report and mitigation trials involving acoustic damping matting on launch platforms and a new trolley system.
Sound Barrier Solutions told planners: “The report provides substantive evidence that the proposed development with the newly installed acoustic matting provides sufficient noise mitigation to bring all noise impacts well within acceptable levels.”
Forest planning officer Melissa Baldwin also said: “It is felt that it will not cause any material harm to the amenities of nearby residents as measures are proposed, including matting, bunding to provide acoustic screening and the imposition of conditions.”
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