Newcastle City Council has granted permanent planning permission to the ‘Whey Aye’- a giant Ferris Wheel set to be built in the Quayside area of the city.
Standing at 460 feet tall, the wheel will be taller than the London Eye and indeed the tallest observation wheel in Europe, and will be built on a site where the Spiller's Flour Mill was once located. The land in question has been empty since 2011.
The project will cost an eye-watering £100 million to build, but its creators, the World Wheel Company, claim 261,000 extra visitors will travel to Newcastle annually to see the wheel, generating £15 million of extra revenue, each year, for local businesses. It is forecast that the development will also create up to 800 jobs.
The company is planning to propose that a giant LED advertising board is attached to the centre of the wheel, and the area surrounding the ‘Whey Aye’ is also expected to receive new developments, including a virtual golf experience and a new food and drink hall.
Councillors are said to have approved the wheel’s planning permission in hopes of boosting the city’s economy.
However, the project is not without its critics, with local councillors expressing concern that interest in the wheel will be short-lived, providing only a small boost to the economy. The planning committee itself was equally divided, with the project only being approved by a margin of eight votes to four during a four-hour meeting. Dr Edward Wainwright, of Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, claimed that the ‘Whey Aye’ will provide ‘little or no direct community benefit’ for the local area. He went on to argue that visitors to the site will increase traffic into the city, and put strain on local roads and public transport.
Despite these criticisms, the development will now gone ahead, with the wheel expected to be opened to the public in late 2020 or early 2021.
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