Plans for a big wheel in Newcastle show how Blackpool missed out when it turned down a bid for a wheel on South Promenade, a leading councillor claimed today.
It was announced earlier this month Newcastle is to get a 140 metre high observation wheel as part of a £100m leisure development that will create up to 550 jobs.
In 2013, Staffordshire-based Wheels Entertainment Ltd approached Blackpool Council with proposals for a 60-metre high ferris wheel for the headland just north of South Pier.
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But it was refused because the council believed it would detract from existing similar attractions in the area. There is already a ferris wheel on Central Pier.
Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, said: “Congratulations to Newcastle on securing a deal to develop a £100m observation big wheel which will be higher than the London Eye.
“This council was approached a few of years ago by an international consortium which wanted to build a wheel right here in Blackpool.
“It wouldn’t have cost the council a penny but there would have been a very lucrative profit share arrangement.
“The council was extremely shortsighted by not agreeing to have this built as it would not only have enhanced the skyline of the town but it would have attracted thousands of visitors.”
Coun Williams said if his party regained power at the town hall, it would ‘seriously consider’ any fresh proposals for a big wheel.
But council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said the right decision had been made at the time.
He added: “A town can only sustain a certain number of observation experiences, and the ones we’ve got here in Britain’s premier seaside resort are world famous and iconic.
“I suspect what Coun Williams is really upset about is the fact we turned this down therefore depriving him of an opportunity to complain
it was a white elephant or a vanity project, which he would undoubtedly have done.
“I hope the site in Newcastle will do very well, and I wish them luck.”