Blackpool set to get an eye in the sky

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SHOPPERS could soon enjoy a new bird’s eye view of Blackpool.

SHOPPERS could soon enjoy a new bird’s eye view of Blackpool.

For the resort is set to get its own London Eye-style big wheel in St John’s Square.

The attraction will operate from April 20 until June 5, which includes Easter and the Royal Wedding on April 29, then from July 17 until August 17, and finally from September 26 until October 31 during the Illuminations. Town centre BID (business improvement district) manager Eileen Ormand has secured the wheel at no cost to the council or local businesses.

She said: “This is going to be fantastic for Blackpool. It’s been hard work getting it, but using my contacts I’ve secured the wheel for Blackpool.

“The BID, Blackpool Council and all the businesses would like to see St John’s Square enlivened and utilised by the public and the big wheel will go a long way to achieving this goal.

“Also added into the square this year will be regular markets and other events that will make St John’s a real family town centre square.

“We also want to link in with Birley Street and Brilliance.”

Wheel

The 33 metre high wheel boasts 24 gondolas which can carry a maximum of six passengers each, making a total capacity of 144. The same wheel was sited in neighbouring resort Southport last year as well as Manchester.

It will take around a week to assemble and dismantle for each visit.

Planning permission is not required because it is a temporary structure. It will stand on a heavy base, and no foundations are required to be dug into the ground.

It will be sited between The Wave sculpture and the bus stop between St John’s Church and the Winter Gardens.

Helen France, director of tourism and regeneration at Blackpool Council, said: “We were very keen to get something actively in St John’s Square because it is a fundamentally important space for the town centre.

“The wheel is here at no cost to the council. We are providing the space and the private operator takes all the risk.

“We are also looking to have markets there, but whatever we put there has to be something that enhances the square. It is all about quality.”

FOR THE FULL STORY SEE WEDNESDAY’S GAZETTE.