THE row over two of the biggest attractions at a theme park has taken a new twist.

Paultons Park has launched an attempt to save one of the rides that may have to be torn down following a ruling by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA).

Members rejected a controversial application to retain the Cobra and the Edge, both of which were built without planning permission.

Now Paultons has applied for consent to keep only the Cobra, generally regarded as the quieter of the two rides.

The move has raised new questions about the future of the Edge, installed just eight months ago at a cost of more than £1m.

Paultons is refusing to say if it will appeal against the NPA’s decision to refuse the original application, demolish the ride or move it to another part of the park – most of which is covered by permitted development rights.

Paultons, which attracts 500,000 visitors a year, occupies a 140-acre site between Ower and Copythorne.

Managers are thought to have submitted the Cobra-only proposal because most of the opposition to the previous application centred on the Edge. Another theory is that Paultons is more likely to win an appeal if it has already secured consent to retain one of the rides.

The application to keep both attractions was rejected by the NPA’s planning and development control committee on October 20.

Members refused the proposal by two votes after going against the advice of their planning officers.

It followed a lengthy debate in which the committee heard from several objectors, including Maggie and David Allenby, of Home Farm, Ower.

Mr Allenby said: “Local residents tolerated increased levels of noise from the park until the Edge was installed.

“Forty people experiencing the thrill of this ride at exactly the same time and the resulting synchronised screaming has ensured that we have not been able to enjoy the simple pleasure of reading, let alone any other tranquil pastime.”

Other speakers included Lady Kara Hawks, chairman of Copythorne Parish Council.

She claimed that Paultons could develop into an Alton Towers-style attraction if it continued to expand.

However, she subsequently backed down after receiving an assurance from managing director Richard Mancey, who said he had no intention of trying to emulate the UK’s largest theme park.

Totton councillor Alan Weeks, one of the seven NPA members who voted against the application, said: “I can’t pre-judge what decision will be made in relation to the proposal to retain the Cobra.

“However, at the meeting last month there was an indication that members would probably have supported the application if it had been the Cobra on its own.”

A Paultons spokesman would only say: “We can confirm that an application has been lodged with the NPA to retain the Cobra ride.”