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16th Jun, 2021

Observation wheel looks set to roll back into town

THE OBSERVATION wheel looks set to return to the Stratford skyline.

Stratford District Council is next week set to give the go-ahead for Danter Attractions Limited to operate the wheel on the recreation ground car park next to the Tramway Bridge for the next three summers, from spring to October.

The original plans for the 35 metre wheel prompted more than 200 objections from residents who argued it would be out of keeping with Shakespeare’s Stratford.

The most recent application has prompted ten objections, one letter of support and one suggestion for its relocation.

One unhappy resident said: “I passed the monstrosity almost everyday last year and there was never more than six to eight people on the wheel.

“The only time it was busy was during the River Festival when it caused tremendous problems for traffic on Clopton Bridge as people were walking on the road because the footbridge was busy.

“It is ugly, only for tourists and we do not want it.”

And another objector wrote the wheel was ‘tacky’ and did not offer anything worthwhile to the town.

Stratforward director Joe Baconnet told the Observer last year that while he did not think the wheel was a big draw for visitors to Stratford he did not think it was the eyesore residents had feared.

Former wheel operator De Koning Leisure Group – which bid this year but lost out to Danter Attractions – revealed the wheel had not attracted the level of custom anticipated by the company.

The recommendation in a report to councillors concluded the wheel would reinforce and promote Stratford’s role as tourist destination by providing an additional attraction, and while it recognised it would have some ‘detrimental impact’ on the area, it was not substantial and would only be temporary.

The district planning committee will consider the application at a meeting on Wednesday (March 14).

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