PLANS to bring a big wheel back to the National Railway Museum in York have been submitted, more than five years after it was removed.
The proposals would see a 50.5-metre wheel with 42 “gondolas” being built in the main car park at the Leeman Road site through a joint venture between the Science Museum Group, which runs the NRM, and operators Freij International.
It would remain there for three years if City of York Council approves the scheme, with a decision expected next month.
About 1.2 million people used a larger wheel next to the museum’s Great Hall between 2006 and 2008, and another wheel later returned to the city in the grounds of the Royal York Hotel. However, it was dismantled last autumn after the council said planning permission was unlikely to be extended for a second time.
The Press revealed last month that Freij wanted to bring a wheel back to York. The company said at the time that it was also considering other potential locations, including North Street Gardens and Monks Cross.
Tourism agency Visit York has said the wheel, which increased the NRM’s visitor numbers during its original run at the site, would benefit York.
A statement sent to council planners by DSP Architects said that while the application was for three years, an extension could be requested. It said six jobs would be created.
Each gondola would have space for six people and the wheel would operate between 10am and 5.30pm, to tie in with the NRM’s opening hours, although it may run until 10pm during peak holiday times and some corporate events. A queueing system would also be introduced.
DSP’s statement said: “The positioning of the wheel in this location will result in linked trips with both the city-centre and its shopping and leisure attractions, and to the National Railway Museum itself.
“The proposed wheel has the potential to draw new trade to the area, boosting attendance at the National Railway Museum, while the experience on the wheel will provide an opportunity to raise visitor awareness of other York attractions.
All visitors will have the opportunity to develop their historical understanding of York while viewing it from such a perspective.”
DSP said the previous NRM wheel had shown there would be no noise issues from customers, no music or PA announcements, and a “noise-suppressed generator” would power the wheel.
It said the application was in line with the council’s strategy of attracting new leisure facilities in or close to the city-centre.