Big Wheel keeps on turning?

Interesting BBC report on this. The not-completely-independent Northern Ireland Environment Agency has objected to an application by World Tourist Attractions, operators of the Belfast Wheel, to further extend planning approval at its existing site, at Belfast City Hall, until August next year – the current planning approval runs out on New Year’s Eve. Belfast City Council, who would [already?] receive £4000 per month from the operators, supported the application and, apparently, hoped to have the Wheel moved to the Titanic Quarter by next summer. From the BBC report

However, an objection was lodged by the Environment Agency who told the BBC it wanted to put down a marker to ensure the wheel did not become a permanent feature beside a listed building.

Adds From the iol report, “”It would be a disaster for Belfast as a city,” said Nigel Ward [of World Tourist Attractions]”. Although he then modifies that line somewhat – “It would undoubtedly be a huge shame if we had to move it.”

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  • Ulsters my homeland

    It’s over in the blink of an eye. Rip-off

  • Mark McGregor

    Never been on it, don’t really mind it but I’ve got to agree, if something/someone wants what is essentially permanent planning permission they shouldn’t be allowed to circumvent that by a series of temporary applications.

    I’d hope that once City Hall is refurbished and tourist friendly the need for it in the city centre would be less and it could be used to attract visitors to a new and more appropriate area.

  • The Raven

    I’m with the agency on this one.

    Though I think the City Hall at night, with the wheel looks fabulous.

  • TOT

    better view from cavehill.

  • GavBelfast

    I don’t like heights and wouldn’t go on it, but have got really used to it where it is and quite like the look of it – almost iconic.

    How does those who think it looks out of place think that the London Eye, for example, looks any more a part of where it is among London’s traditional old buildings?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Perhaps Belfast City Councillor Sammy Wilson could petition the Environment Minister in charge of NIEA, Sammy Wilson, to keep it at City Hall until City Hall is actually required by Belfast City Council.

  • eranu

    i was on it a few months ago with the wind disturbingly whistling through the gaps in the doors. all good fun though. it went round about 3 times so you have a good 10 mins or so in total to look in all directions across the city. there is a bit of commentry on several buildings and landmarks around the city, including some buildings around city hall. bit of comment on the ‘Robinson’ building that is now marks and sparks (i think). ive been on the massively embarrassing belfast bus tour with MC Millie redin out stuff wat has been writ fer her. the commentry on the wheel was actually ok. reasonable bit of interesting history presented clearly. it felt more like the professional tour commentry ive been on in London and other european cities, although obviously without the big history those cities have.
    the wheel needs to stay in a city centre location to be close enough to get a good look at the citys buildings. put it in the titanic quarter and you wont get anyone going there for starters and those that go will get a good view of the waste land that is the historic titanic area.
    i agree with others above, the wheel makes the city centre look cool. new, vibrant, exciting city that belfast is trying to ‘B’, and all that.

  • Alan

    I agree that Titanic Quarter is a mistake : zero footfall most of the time.

    It may not be much better, but with the development of the Cathedral quarter, are they planning anything for that concrete desert in front of the Art College. it maight draw people down in that direction. At very least we could finally get rid of those stranded, multi-colour buoys if they put it there.

    You could give the bus tour companies a parking bay down there as well, which would reduce the traffic mayhem in front of Jury’s.

  • DK

    I’ve been on it two or three times and it’s quite good fun – especially with nervous people!

    Titanic quarter might work as long as it is handy for the odyssey crowds. Next it should go to an interface, so you can watch the riots.

  • eranu

    an interface wheel? interesting. that would be something uniquely belfast. probably not for those nervous people though! i can see the marketing now. “Come visit the Whiterock Wheel” “See Belfasts history come to life before your very eyes!”

    perhaps stormont would be a long term location. they seem to like going round in circles up there..

  • Keep on rollin’

    Putting it in the Titanic Quarter is a dumb idea, the place is a wasteland and too far from the city centre. It needs to be within easy walking distance of City Hall / the shops to keep attracting decent numbers. Surely there is room for it somewhere between the weir and the Waterfront?

  • Bah humbug to the Environment Agency!!

    What Scrooge in the Environment Agency came up with this idea? The wheel has very quickly become a Belfast icon, its incongruity with everything is what makes it work. It looks lovely at night, the views from it on clear days are great, you get a decent, long ride, it’s not that dear, it anchors the seasonal markets. It complements the quirky Victoria Square egg in the skyline, and it helps keep people in the city centre for shopping. Seriously, who is that daft at the EA?

    This is why Belfast lost out on its ridiculous city of culture bid. Anything halfway decent that gives a boost to the city is shot in the foot. Or knees, as the case may be.

  • The Raven

    Errr….incongruous is not a word that could describe the wheel…