RESIDENTS living near Arley Hall are hoping a planning application for it to host The Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience for five years will mean they can finally have their say.

Having voiced concerns last year when the event was first announced, the residents say the show is unfair on them and just isn’t suitable due to its remote location near to Appleton Thorn.

Ravenswood Experiences, which operates the event, has applied to Cheshire East Council for planning permission to temporarily change the use of the land for a five-year period.

If approved, the Harry Potter experience would return annually between October and January, with opening hours of 4pm to 11pm.

Warrington Guardian: Access to Arley Road is via narrow and unlit country lanesAccess to Arley Road is via narrow and unlit country lanes

However, Arley Residents Group said they welcome the planning application being submitted as it now provides them with an opportunity to formally voice their concerns.

A spokesman for the group said: “Rather than act as individuals we decided to come together as a group.

“We have instructed a solicitor to act on our behalf and advise us about how we can set a case about the concerns we have about the future events at Arley.

“Harry Potter went on until right into January when it was last here and it left us in utter misery as residents in the area.

“We can’t just let this thing run to the detriment of the surrounding community.

“It is just totally unfair.”

Warrington Guardian: Arley Residents Group said they have had to rescue many drivers left strandedArley Residents Group said they have had to rescue many drivers left stranded

The group point out that they are not against events being held at the hall and they understand the estate has to diversify to raise revenue.

“We support the estate’s work and endeavours,” they added.

“But what we want is for there to be reasonable and sensible parameters to those events, so we don’t have traffic, loud noises and intrusions into our lives every night of the week until the wee small hours.

“There is such limited infrastructure in the area.

“Arley doesn’t have a fantastic road network and it is very isolated.

“What we’ve found – having lived through it – so many people have had punctures due to potholes.

“But they often don’t discover this until after they’ve left the car park.

“We have had to do so many rescues of people left stranded late at night.

“It’s dark and unlit and they can’t get any help because there is no phone signal.

“That alone is simply irresponsible.

“We’re hoping the planning application will at least allow us to have some boundaries put in place.

“Now is the time for us as residents to be heard.

“It’s not safe and it’s not fair.”

A planning statement, prepared by Rural Solutions Ltd on behalf of Ravenswood Experiences, revealed the 2021 event brought more than £5 million to the Cheshire economy.

It added: "There are no residual cumulative impacts on transport grounds from this development which are severe, car parking provision already exists and is in accordance with adopted standards and there are no issues raised with regard to air quality matters.

"Overall, it is considered that the proposed development fully reflects the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework in helping to ensure that the Green Belt remains open, the landscape character is protected and that a prosperous rural economy is provided for.

"New small-scale event/tourist facilities will generate tangible social and economic benefits that will enhance the future vitality of Arley and its heritage assets, the wider locality and Cheshire and it has been fully evidenced that the proposal will not create any environmental harm."