YORK could be set to get a big wheel again, after the attraction’s operators came up with a new possible site.
World Tourist Attractions (WTA) wants to put a wheel in St George’s Field car park for a three-month trial.
Leading councillors say they will not block the move, as they did with an earlier application in North Street, paving the way for the firm to table a formal planning application.
WTA has held a series of meetings with City of York Council leader Andrew Waller, and its planning leader, Steve Galloway, and have now come up with a mutually acceptable plan.
Coun Galloway said: “Clearly this is a contentious issue in the city, with conservationists worried about environmental issues, while the tourist industry is looking for a boost to see it through the economic downturn.
“While Andrew (Waller) and I could not give any assurances about how the planning committee might view any application to site the wheel at St George’s, we did note that the proposal was markedly different from the previous plan, insofar as it is only for a limited period of time, during the peak tourist season, and it utilises a site which has a history of use for temporary fairground style attractions.”
He said that may mean the council’s ruling executive would not veto the idea in principle, thus leaving the planning committee to consider it.
WTA was unavailable for comment yesterday, but Coun Galloway said the firm apparently saw the St George’s proposal as a chance to test public opinion on the idea of having a wheel elsewhere in the city.
The previous one, at the National Railway Museum, was dismantled in November, but WTA’s attempts to put a replacement next to the Park Inn Hotel in North Street were vetoed due to environmental concerns. Though there are flooding issues at St George’s Field, WTA has told the council it can lift all sensitive mechanisms above any potential flood level, with less than an hour’s notice.
The reduction in car-parking spaces would be offset by the reopening of Kent Street coach park while the wheel was in operation.