PLANS to bring a big wheel back to York have cleared the first hurdle, after ruling councillors gave tentative approval to a new site.
World Tourist Attractions wants to put a wheel in St George’s Field car park for three months, to gauge public opinion.
The ruling executive of City of York Council, which owns the car park, yesterday agreed to the idea in principle. WTA will now draw up a detailed application, for consideration by the council’s planning committee.
Damon Copperthwaite, assistant director of city development, told yesterday’s meeting that a letter of objection had been received from Bishops Wharf management company, which represents people living in flats across the Ouse from St George’s Field, but he said the objections were a matter for the planning committee.
Council leader Andrew Waller said: “As landowner, we would be expected to give a view here. There is no intrinsic reason why the wheel should not be on that site, although there may be views expressed at the planning meeting.”
Former leader Steve Galloway, now responsible for city strategy, said nobody at the council had forced WTA to move from their previous site, beside the National Railway Museum in Leeman Road, and said their more recent request to site a wheel beside the Park Inn Hotel in North Street had been inappropriate.
The executive also yesterday approved plans to press ahead with trying to make York an official World Heritage site.
Former Lord Mayor Janet Hopton said York had wasted a chance to attain the status in 1990, and said this would be the last chance to rectify that until 2022.
Sir Ron Cooke, chairman of the Without Walls group and former vice-chancellor of the University of York, said the city ticked all the boxes for World Heritage recognition, saying: “It is unequivocally an area of outstanding status.”
Coun Christian Vassie, responsible for leisure and culture, said it was vital that York emphasised its social history and impressive documentary archives, rather than focussing on buildings such as the Minster.
Coun Waller said attaining status would not be easy, but said: “If we were to kill off this opportunity, I do not think we would be forgiven.”
The executive also formally opposed plans for a new £6 million link road for Bishopthorpe, saying it would be too expensive and yield too few benefits. That matter will now be referred back to a meeting of the whole council.