Council confirm new big wheel attraction for Scarborough seafront

An artist's impression of the new big wheel in situ. PIC: Scarborough council
An artist's impression of the new big wheel in situ. PIC: Scarborough council

Scarborough council have confirmed a new big wheel attraction will be coming to the seafront this summer on the site of the former Futurist theatre.

In June the council put out a call for operators to submit proposals for a "high quality observation wheel" and today announced it has chosen Observation Wheel UK Ltd.

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The new temporary attraction will provide views of the town’s South Bay from 32 metres above ground and can carry a maximum of 144 passengers in each of its 24 enclosed gondolas.

Observation Wheel UK Ltd will initially operate under a lease from the council from Tuesday July 30 until Monday August 26.

Cllr Steve Siddons, Leader of Scarborough Borough Council, said: “I am really pleased that we have been able to secure such a high quality attraction for Scarborough and I am looking forward to seeing it in operation later this month. The observation wheel will be something unique for the South Bay, which will complement existing businesses, help to attract extra visitors and benefit the town until plans for a permanent solution on the site are finalised.”

Earlier this year, Flamingo Land Coast was named as the preferred development for the Futurist site and plans for a ‘cutting-edge and unique attraction’ were unveiled in February.

Original designs showed a four-storey building with space for attractions, education facilities, restaurants and children’s play areas, another structure housing a ‘winter garden’ and to the rear of the main building, a roller coaster and a cliffhanger tower.

However, Cllr Siddons told The Scarborough News this week he was still considering the details of Flamingo Land Coast, saying: "We are still unclear as to what Flamingo Land is proposing."

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In the interim, Observation Wheel UK Ltd will operate on the site and if successful and the council is happy, there will be an option to extend the lease until November 10, subject to planning permission.

The operator plans to give 300 free charity rides to help raise funds for the Borough Community Fund, offer free rides to local hospices and donate £500 towards the cost of fireworks for Scarborough’s annual Seafest event due to take place from July 26 to 28.

William Abbott, Managing Director of Observation Wheel UK Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be awarded this prestigious contract and are thrilled to be bringing one of our elegant wheels to Scarborough over the 2019 summertime period.

“Scarborough is such a beautiful resort town and the site is perfect for an observation wheel as it will enable spectacular 360 degree views out over the bay. Visitors will get a unique perspective over the town and see the bay from the sky.

“We have found a strong growing trend in seaside based local authorities all across the country taking advantage of observation wheels since they provide an iconic landmark and

draw large visitor numbers into their locations, which then in turn helps to support other local businesses.

“Our wheels attract families and people of all ages and are beautiful feats of engineering that transform a skyline – adding a dynamic visual spectacle both day and night. The observation wheel will be the tallest family attraction in Scarborough, and we look forward to welcoming both residents and visitors.”

The wheel will be open daily from 11am to 9.30pm, provided there are no high winds.

The experience will last approximately eight to ten minutes and there will be a 10 per cent discount on all ticket prices for residents living or hotel guests staying in YO11 postcodes.