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Residents oppose big wheel extension
RESIDENTS living in apartments next to the site of York’s big wheel have objected to plans to keep it operating for another eight months.
The 53-metre observation wheel in the grounds of the Royal York Hotel was originally due to be dismantled at the start of February under the terms of planning permission granted by City of York Council in 2011, but its new owners have now asked for it to continue until the end of September.
A decision on whether the wheel can remain is expected to be made within weeks, during which time it can stay open.
Dubai-based Freij Entertainment International, which bought the structure from Great City Attractions Global, has said it believes York is “the right place” for the attraction.
However, opposition to the plans for the 42-pod wheel to stay until September 30, after which it would be dismantled, has come from people living in nearby Westgate Apartments, some of whom called for the original plans to be rejected in 2011.
In a letter sent to the council’s planning department, June Richardson, who lives in the Leeman Road block, said the wheel caused “constant intrusion” and it had been “tolerated” by residents because they thought it would be taken down in early 2013.
Fellow resident Jacinta Elliott said in her objection: “Not everybody enjoys being observed in their own homes”.
Their views were echoed by Westgate resident Ivan Shaw, who said the wheel had led to a “total lack of privacy”, and Barrie Barton, who claimed people’s sleep patterns had been disturbed by the noise created when high winds gust through the frame.
In the planning application, Roger Etchells & Co, the agents for the scheme, said there had been “a number of complaints” since the wheel was put in place but these had been addressed.
The application states: “The wheel has not had the adverse effects anticipated by many who objected to it at the outset.”
Tourism body Visit York has said it would welcome the wheel remaining in the city until the autumn.