Scarborough council responds to upset that new big wheel will only offer discount to one postcode

Scarborough Council has said it did not choose to give a discount on the town’s new observation wheel to just one postcode.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 4th July 2019, 11:18 am
An artist's impression on the new big wheel.
An artist's impression on the new big wheel.

The authority revealed this morning that it had chosen Observation Wheel UK Ltd to operate a wheel on the site of the former Futurist theatre.

The observation wheel will carry a maximum of 144 passengers with six people seated in each of its 24 enclosed gondolas and will open on July 30 for an initial 28 days.

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Since the announcement, the council and the new Labour-lead administration has faced criticism that a 10% discount on the £5 entry fee would be given to people living or staying in the YO11 postcodes, which covers the southern part of Scarborough town but not Whitby, Filey and Scarborough’s north side.

In response to online posts, a council spokesman responded on the authority’s Facebook page to say the discount has been set by the operator and the council was not involved in setting the price.

They wrote: “The operator is only leasing the land from us.

“It’s a private business venture and therefore the operator is entitled to set their own prices and discounts.

“How a private business operates is nothing to do with who pays what council tax and is not something we dictate.

“A similar example would be a private retail business operating out of a council-owned shop.

“Just because the council is the landlord of the building doesn’t mean every borough resident that goes to the shop should get a discount on their purchases.

“It would appear that the operator is offering the discount based on the immediate postcode area surrounding the wheel site as they are not just offering it to residents but also to visitors staying in YO11 holiday accommodation.”

Councillors, including former cabinet members Mike Cockerill (ind) from Filey and David Chance (Con) of Whitby’s Mayfield ward, have emailed the leader of the council, Cllr Steve Siddons, to register their upset, with Cllr Cockerill saying he is “appalled” that the discount only applies to Scarborough.