THIS is how York’s new big wheel could look if it gets the go-ahead from planners – and it could be up and running within weeks.

Tourism firm Great City Attractions Global (GCAG) wants to put the attraction in the gardens of the Royal York Hotel, and has revealed this artist’s impression as part of its planning application.

If it gets the go-ahead from City of York Council, the company hopes to have the wheel in place by November 24. It would run for 14 months before being taken down again in January 2013.

GCAG previously ran a wheel at the National Railway Museum, from 2006 to 2008, but has since failed in three attempts to move to new publicly-owned sites in the city – North Street Gardens, St George’s Field car park, and behind York Art Gallery. In its latest application, GCAG says the wheel could create 30 jobs and says there are “compelling reasons” economically to approve the plan.

They say the wheel would be 53 metres high and have 42 pods. It would have the capacity for 1,000 people an hour, but the firm says it would realistically take fewer people. It would remain open until 9pm each night, which GCAG says would help stimulate York’s evening economy.

The wheel would be towards the northern part of the gardens. The nearest homes are Westgate Apartments in Leeman Road, about 40 to 50 metres away. GCAG says the firm has done a detailed acoustic survey, and says there would be negligible noise nuisance when compared with the noise of the station and passing vehicles.

GCAG has commissioned a bat survey, to try to prevent a repeat of the drama last spring when the possibility of bats behind York Art Gallery scuppered its plans for that site.

In a statement supporting its plans, a spokesman said: “We believe that the graceful and elegant design of our wheels – very different from a fairground attraction or Ferris wheel – can fit in harmoniously with exciting public spaces and and distinguished architecture. Our wheels also benefit heritage locations by giving ordinary members of the public the chance to see familiar architecture and the built environment from a completely different perspective.”

Coun Sonja Crisp, the council's cabinet member for leisure, said: “Stimulating the evening economy is a priority for this council and we welcome steps that support that priority, which supports local jobs. The evening operation of a big wheel would offer a different experience that I’m sure many people would be attracted to.”

York Press: The Press - Comment

Welcome addition

AS York finally looks set to welcome back the giant wheel, new details have emerged that the attraction will be here for 14 months, creating up to 30 jobs, and will stay open until 9pm.

Considering it has a capacity of 1,000 people an hour, that will give a much-needed boost to the city’s evening economy. There is still the small matter of planning permission, but Great City Attractions Global says the economic benefits are compelling reasons to approve their plan. The company calls its wheel a graceful and elegant design and we believe it will be a welcome addition to the city skyline. We are delighted to learn it may be open before Christmas.

York Press: What do you think? - Click to comment