'It's not fun and it's not fair'

RESIDENTS have been left furious after a theme park featuring Europe's largest portable ferris wheel was set up yards from their homes with no warning.

The Planet Fun rides and attractions arrived on the Portobello site late last week and are set to stay there for two weeks.

Locals are outraged they were not consulted before M&D, which runs "Scotland's family theme park" in Strathclyde Country Park, was granted a licence to use the old ScottishPower site just off the town's High Street.

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The homeowners in neighbouring Baileyfield Road say they are dreading the next fortnight as their properties are overlooked by the rides and they claim the noise will be "unbearable". They are also angry that posters advertising the theme park gave its location wrongly as Seafield Road.

City council chiefs today insisted that as the theme park was temporary, neighbours did not need to be informed.

But Pat Jeffery, 67, who has lived in the street with her husband Arthur for eight years, said: "Can you imagine what kind of noise and vibration we are going to get? It will be unbearable.

"Fairs attract the wrong type of people and we are just over the wall from it. I would be frightened to leave the house unattended overnight. I do not understand why the licensing board gave this permission and I am so annoyed to think they have got away with it without anybody knowing."

The site, which is on Fishwives Causeway, was at the centre of controversy just two years ago when Tesco revealed it wanted to build a superstore on the land.

A protest group was formed by locals and the plans were ruled out by the Scottish Executive.

Mr Jeffery, 74, added: "I think it's all very underhand. It's ridiculous that it's allowed to be so close in a very small area to houses."

Another Baileyfield Road resident, who asked not to be named, added: "The main concerns are the noise and the increased traffic, but the overriding factor is that we were not informed."

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A spokeswoman for M&D said the theme park, which opens tonight and runs until April 10, was all above board. She said:

"There is an acceptable level of noise allowed on theme park sites and noise levels will also be monitored by the environmental health department over the duration of the fair. We will reduce noise levels should this be necessary."

Portobello councillor Lawrence Marshall said: "It is a shame that people weren't able to comment on it but I hope that the conditions imposed on it by the council will allow it to proceed in a way which doesn't cause too many problems or nuisance for local residents."

A council spokeswoman said: "Any noise and disturbance suffered by local residents should be immediately brought to the attention of the council, when such matters can be addressed and subsequently noted for the future."

The theme park has attracted some support among locals.

Jonee Duggan, 27, who works at Verden music studios, which is located within the old ScottishPower site, said:

"It brightened up my day because it has a bit of a novelty factor."

The Planet Fun travelling theme park was refused a licence by the city council in 2005 after it applied to set up on Leith Links.

Councillor Phil Attridge, chairman of the licensing board, said at the time that M&Ds had failed to reveal the scale of the five-day event and that Leith Links would have been ruined by the size of the rides.