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Big wheel may come to Monks Cross
THE firm that wants to bring a big wheel back to York is looking at Monks Cross as a potential location, as it examines sites across the city.
The Press revealed last week that Freij International was holding talks with the National Railway Museum over the possible return of an observation wheel to its original city home at the Leeman Road site, more than five years after it was taken away from there.
But the company said it was keeping its options open and is looking at other potential locations, including near the site where York's community stadium will be built at Monks Cross and next to the River Ouse at North Street Gardens.
After leaving the NRM in 2008, the Wheel was based in the grounds of the Royal York Hotel between December 2011 and last autumn, before being dismantled after City of York Council said its planning permission was unlikely to be extended.
Freij’s UK operations director, John Lowery, said: "Talks are taking place with the National Railway Museum about returning and they are set to continue this week, with talks also planned with the council with regard to other potential sites, including North Street Gardens.
"We are also looking into the potential of the new Monks Cross development area, including the community stadium, to see if that is suitable for an observation wheel and any other potential attraction."
The Oakgate Group, which is developing a £90 million shopping complex at Monks Cross, said it had not been approached by Freij.
Charlie Croft, the council's assistant director for communities, culture and public realm, said: “The council recognises that the wheel represents a good-quality attraction which adds to the city's offer for visitors and residents – we welcome Freij International's approach and are happy to work constructively with them to identify appropriate sites.”
More than 1.7 million people rode on the wheel during its time at the NRM and the Royal York Hotel. Visit York head Kate McMullen said its return would be welcome news for the city's tourism sector.
She said: “We believe the wheel helps to enhance York’s international profile and adds a new dimension to the cityscape.”
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