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16th Jun, 2021

District divided over plans for permanent summer slot for Stratford wheel

THE CONTROVERSIAL observation wheel could be a more permanent fixture in Stratford’s skyline.

Stratford District Council is considering an application from Operator Danter Attractions to allow the formerly temporary wheel to return every year between March and September.

The 38ft attraction has divided opinion since it first rolled into town in 2017- based in the recreation ground car park next to the Tramway Bridge. Under the proposals, the wheel would operate seven days a week from 10am to 9pm, beginning in the Easter holiday.

Residents continue to express concerns over it being an ‘eyesore’, a loss of privacy for those with nearby gardens, and driving ‘people pollution’. The ride also takes up 25 car park spaces, much to the dismay of some.

Former mayor Cyril Bennis is among those fiercely opposed to the wheel.

He said: “I’m concerned about the impact it will have on residents in the area and the fact we have tourism pollution. There’s no control or rhythm to the mass of people gather round in the Rec Ground, it’s busy enough as it is. It’s of no benefit to the town. Tourism is overstated, the focus should be on community and building a foundation more now than ever before.”

So far, the application has ten objections, although there are residents in support of the attraction.

One resident responding to a social media post about the wheel believed it would bring much-needed cheer after a difficult year.

Another wrote: “I think the wheel will bring people to this dying town, so many places closing, something needs to bring people back and we’ve all had a rubbish year so wont do any harm.

“Personally I think the wheel has become a much loved asset; however being a permanent feature does seem over the top. I think the current arrangement of six months on and six months off is ideal, and allows time for maintenance during the off-season, and it’s arrival marks the start of Spring. Or to put it another way; absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

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