YORK’S big wheel will stay until the end of September after a knife-edge council vote this evening.

City of York Council’s planning committee was split on whether the 53-metre observation wheel in the Royal York Hotel’s grounds, originally due to be dismantled within weeks, should be allowed to continue over the summer.

The application by the wheel’s owners, Freij Entertainment International, was approved on the casting vote of committee chairman Coun David Horton after an 8-8 tie on votes for and against.

Residents of nearby Westgate Apartments said the wheel should not remain because of noise, light and privacy issues, branding it a “parasite” on York’s landscape. Freij’s planning agents said only a handful of residents had objected and the wheel was not an intrusion.

Coun Julie Gunnell told the meeting she and fellow Micklegate councillors Dave Merrett and Sandy Fraser opposed the extension, saying: “This is about what residents are having to endure - when they bought their homes, they didn’t know this wheel would be put on their doorstep.”

Coun Horton said: “I don’t think the wheel is in the right place and I don’t think we would accept it being a permanent fixture, but you cannot see into apartments from it and not enough evidence has been provided to reject it.”

The wheel must be removed by October 31, rather than November 30 as Freij requested. A suggestion by Coun Mark Warters that it be taken down before the Remembrance Day service at Memorial Gardens was approved.