Villagers taken for a ride by visitors to Towers
THOUSANDS of motorists are driving through winding rural villages every week as thrill-seekers make their way to Alton Towers.
New figures have revealed that roads in Alton and Farley attract more than three times the level of traffic during the main season, compared to when the resort is closed between November and March.
Now villagers have renewed calls for improvements as the theme park pushes ahead with proposals to build 150 holiday lodges on the site.
At peak times, the popular attraction pulls in roughly 20,000 visitors on a daily basis. But this rises to 25,000 when a special event, such as a concert or the annual firework party, is held.
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Research has also revealed the vast majority of families drive to the park.
Almost 90 per cent of visitors travelled by car, with roughly 10 per cent reaching the attraction by coach and public transport during 2012. Less than one per cent used a taxi.
Marginally more of them pass through Alton village, compared to those heading from the Farley direction.
In the past, the attraction's owner, Merlin Entertainments, has rejected proposals to build a relief road to the resort which would bypass the congested villages.
The firm estimates it would cost roughly £30 million to set up such a road and claims it would only be needed for six weeks per year.
Tony Moult, a member of Alton Parish Council, said: "They charge about £6 to park at the resort at the moment and that must bring them millions in revenue.
"That money could have been used to fund the relief road, which we have been asking for, for a long time."
Last year, the theme park was told it must shell out £100,000 on measures to ease traffic congestion before building the Nemesis Sub-Terra ride.
At the time, it was predicted the new ride would increase the number of vehicles through Alton and Farley to 150,000 per year.
Mr Moult added: "The traffic is already too much through Alton and Farley. When I use public transport to get around the area, we are often stuck because of traffic heading to Alton Towers."
Staffordshire County Council has recently carried out traffic monitoring in the area ahead of any improvements being rolled out.
Councillor Mike Maryon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "If Alton Towers was built now, it probably wouldn't get planning permission without the highway infrastructure. I would have liked to have seen a relief road."