Competition fears prompt ‘no’ for wheel

The Big Wheel in Liverpool which is similar to the one which had been proposed for Blackpool, on the headland near South Pier.
The Big Wheel in Liverpool which is similar to the one which had been proposed for Blackpool, on the headland near South Pier.
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Hopes of bringing a 60-metre high ferris wheel to Blackpool Promenade have been dashed after council chiefs ruled it would create too much competition for other attractions.

Staffordshire-based company Wheels Entertainment Ltd had wanted to install a wheel on the headland just north of South Pier.

The council’s refusal to rent out the site has angered
Waterloo ward councillor Tony Lee who said the
new attraction would have been a huge boost to South Shore.

He fumed: “This would have been a fantastic attraction which would have helped draw more people in to South Shore which is what we are trying to do.

“It does not show a very enterprising attitude.

“When I was in business, you could not object to something just because it would mean competition.”

The wheel, which boasts 42 enclosed gondolas, would have been twice as high as the current big wheel on Central Pier.

The company behind the venture said it was disappointed.

John Lowery, operations manager at Wheels Entertainment, said: “The council does not now wish to continue talks in regards to us renting the area in question.

“So at the moment it looks unlikely that we will be bringing one of our giant observation wheels to the area.

“Obviously we feel the wheel would have benefited the area as an attraction in its own right including the recruitment of 20 local staff but fully understand their wishes and would not rule out talks again in the future.”

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for Urban Regeneration, said: “The council has undertaken a consultation with local businesses and residents.

“As a result we don’t believe the proposal will have a significant impact on the economic benefits of the town to progress any further, and would also detract from existing similar attractions in the area.

“We are in discussions with Wheels Entertainment Ltd. as regards to moving to a different area of the town, where the attraction can add value and not be in direct competition.”