York wheel's extended stay may soon get green light

10:21am Wednesday 13th February 2013

By Mark Stead

PLANS to keep York’s big wheel in place until the autumn could be approved by councillors next week.

The 53-metre observation wheel in the grounds of the Royal York Hotel was due to be taken down this month, but new owners Freij Entertainment International applied to City of York Council for permission to continue operating it until September 30.

The authority’s planning committee will make a decision on the application next Thursday and planners have recommended it for approval, although they have said it should not become a permanent fixture.

A report by development management officer Jonathan Kenyon said the impact on York’s “historic environment” was low and outweighed by the “public benefits” of the extension and the contribution it made to York’s tourism economy, adding that it gave visitors a “different experience” of the city.

The council has received 15 objections to the wheel staying until the end of September, many of them from residents of nearby Westgate Apartments, over issues including noise, loss of privacy and its “visual impact”.

If approved, the wheel will be allowed to operate between 9am and 9pm every day and will have to be completely removed, with the hotel grounds being restored to their original condition, by the end of November.

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