PLANS for a new big wheel for York have been shelved following widespread protests.

World Tourists Attractions (WTA) has withdrawn its planning application for St George’s Field car park, but said it will be submitting new plans and still wants to return to York.

As reported in The Press last Friday, 226 residents objected to the plans, while North Yorkshire Police said the wheel would distract motorists on the inner ring road, leading to accidents. Environmental officials have also protested.

WTA yesterday withdrew its plans, which would have seen a 60m high wheel installed for three months, “in order to further investigate site-specific issues”.

A spokesman said: “WTA is planning to submit a further planning application for the site in due course and are looking forward to returning to the historic city of York.”

He said the firm had been encouraged by the support shown by City of York Council officials and councillors, the York Retailers’ Forum, North Yorkshire and York Chamber of Commerce, Visit York and other organisations and residents.

Meanwhile, York’s outspoken former leisure chief has again criticised his party’s over the big wheel saga.

Coun Christian Vassie, who condemned the Liberal Democrats’ handling of the issue in January and was subsequently sacked, criticised the decision to allow the application for the St George’s Field site but not North Street gardens.

He said: “I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the application to put a big wheel in this area has raised so many objections.

“It was known that St George’s Field car park had flooded on almost 100 days over the past decade. Compare this with North Street gardens where local residents and businesses were not opposed and where there had been only one flooding event in a decade.”

In January, the council vetoed WTA’s plans to put a wheel next to the Park Inn Hotel in North Street. Coun Vassie slated his party colleagues at the meeting, and was removed from the executive in May.

He said: “I regret that a city that relies on tourism has turned its back on an attraction that had welcomed over a million visitors. This has happened in the middle of the worst recession for decades, when local businesses need all the support they can get.”