Scarborough's South Bay observation wheel set to stay until November

The view of the wheel from Bland's Cliff. PIC: Martina Moscariello
The view of the wheel from Bland's Cliff. PIC: Martina Moscariello

Scarborough’s seafront observation wheel is set to remain in the town until November.

The 32-metre high wheel has been operating on the site of the former Futurist Theatre on Scarborough’s seafront since the end of July and, next week, Scarborough Council is set to grant it permission to stay.

The observation wheel on South Bay. PIC: Richard Ponter

The observation wheel on South Bay. PIC: Richard Ponter

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Observation Wheel UK was given a 28-day use of the site by the council with the option of making it longer via the planning process if it was deemed to have been a success.

Though the initial 28-day limit passed in August the council allowed it to continue to operate while its planning application was assessed as it was deemed the wheel was not causing an “unacceptable impact”.

The application will now go before the authority’s planning and development committee next Thursday (3rd) with councillors being recommended to allow the wheel to stay until November 10.

The view from the wheel. PIC: Martina Moscariello

The view from the wheel. PIC: Martina Moscariello

One objection from a resident who lives nearby has been received by the council, while others have also written to highlight issues with lights from the attraction and the loss of privacy from people on the wheel being able to see into windows on Bland’s Cliff.

One resident wrote: “We do not want to have a precedent set that no-one objected to the wheel and therefore we may end up with more of these types of things on the site, becoming brighter and louder when Scarborough and we residents deserve better.”

As a result, the authority’s planning officers have added a condition on the operator that the lights on the west-facing side of the wheel should remain switched off at all times.

The wheel, which can carry a maximum of 144 passengers with six people seated in each of its 24 enclosed gondolas, is a temporary feature on the seafront as the council examines its deal with Flamingo Land for the site. The company wants to build a £14m coastal attraction complete with rollercoaster and Cliffhanger tower where the Futurist once stood.

The theme park operator was given preferred bidder status for the Futurist site following its £4.5m demolition, though the leader of the council, Labour’s Cllr Steve Siddons, has now launched a review of the deal to ensure it was the best option for the borough and its taxpayers.