New attraction rolls into Blackpool

Big wheel nearing completion in St John's Square, Blackpool
Big wheel nearing completion in St John's Square, Blackpool
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ROLL up, roll up! An iconic new attraction is set to bring the buzz of the Golden Mile into the heart of the town.

Thousands more visitors are expected to descend on St John’s Square after Blackpool’s very own 33m high big wheel took pride of place in the recently revamped area.

The wheel will start turning for the first time today when it is official opened by Blackpool mayor Don Clapham – and traders hope it will give a welcome boost to a sometimes neglected area of the town.

Head of VisitBlackpool Natalie Wyatt told The Gazette: “It’s fantastic we’ve been able to deliver this wheel in time for the Easter holidays.

“Big wheels have proved really popular in other towns and cities and I’m sure it will be just as successful in Blackpool. It’s designed to increase footfall in the town centre and provide a focal point for St John’s Square during the start of the season.

“It’s hard to know at this point how many people will come to use it but if it draws the crowds like we hope, we’ll plan for it to return on a regular basis.”

The wheel will be operating throughout Easter to June 5, and will roll back into the resort again between July 17 and August 17 before returning for a final time during the Illuminations, from September 26 until October 31.

And it is hoped residents will take advantage and hop on-board before the Bank Holiday weekend.

Eileen Ormand, town centre BID (business improvement district) manager, is one of those who helped bring the big wheel to town.

She said: “The Pleasure Beach is great and it attracts lots of people, but the town centre hasn’t had anything like this since the original big wheel more than a century ago.

“I love the idea of being that high up and so close to the tower, it’s a totally different view. It’s hugely exciting.

“We’ve got it going early to give locals a chance to have a go on it.”

The massive wheel boasts a total of 24 gondolas which can each take a maximum of six passengers.”