THE DEADLINE for people to make their thoughts known on a proposed observation wheel in Stratford has almost passed.
De Koning Leisure Group Ltd has applied to Stratford District Council for permission to site a 34 metre wheel on the car park of the Recreation Ground for a six month period.
Since being submitted, the proposals for the wheel, which would be located close to Stratford Boat Club in Swans Nest Lane, have divided opinion with some arguing a wheel would be out of keeping with Shakespeare’s Stratford, while others say it would help attract more visitors to the town.
Bosses at the boat club meanwhile have raised concerns about privacy, traffic congestion, problems accessing the car park for disabled athletes and the wheel itself, which they branded ‘hideous’ and ‘totally inappropriate.’
Although the RSC has its own observational tower across the river, theatre bosses have not objected to the plans, but have suggested the long term impact on the landscape should not be affected by the structure and traffic and pedestrian congestion should be carefully managed.
The consultation period, which was extended after the would-be wheel operators added further details to their application, ends on Wednesday (June 15).
The additional information from De Koning addressed areas of concern raised by objectors such as privacy, visual impact, lighting and traffic congestion.
The company maintain the closest property would be some 50m away from the wheel and say nearby residents should not be worried as riders would be drawn to the views of the historic town across the river.
De Koning argue the wheel’s visual impact to the heritage of the site is ‘highly subjective’ and claim it will not be lit outside the operating hours of 10am to 10pm.
The Stop the Wheel campaigners raised the issue of pedestrian queuing, which they claimed could cause traffic issues around Swans Nest Lane and the nearby footbridge.
In response, De Koning put forward measures for crowd control and queuing including barriers.
The council’s planning team has already received more than 200 comments on the application, which is expected to be decided in the coming months.