Air raid shelter not under Worthing Wheel, council confirms

The air raid shelter under Steyne Gardens in the Second World War. Picture: Graham Lelliott
The air raid shelter under Steyne Gardens in the Second World War. Picture: Graham Lelliott

A closed-off air raid shelter is not under the Worthing Wheel, the council has confirmed in response to safety concerns from the public.

Graham Lelliott from Busticle Lane in Sompting understood that the shelter in Steyne Gardens which housed Worthing residents in the Second World War had not been filled in, with the entrance and ventilation shafts sealed and capped off instead.

The air raid shelter under Steyne Gardens in the Second World War. Picture: Graham Lelliott

The air raid shelter under Steyne Gardens in the Second World War. Picture: Graham Lelliott

He said: “With the weight of the wheel above, I hope the roof of the air raid shelter can withstand its weight and the ground does not give – one can only image the horrors if that thing toppled over.

“Car shows and other events have taken place over the years but I would imagine the big wheel to be the heaviest object the site has ever seen.”

In response, a spokesman for Worthing Borough Council said: “There is no risk to the operation of the Big Wheel caused by the air raid shelter under Steyne Gardens.

“The shelter is further to the north of the footprint of the Big Wheel operation and does not affect it in any way.

The Worthing Wheel in Steyne Gardens. Picture: Eddie Mitchell.

The Worthing Wheel in Steyne Gardens. Picture: Eddie Mitchell.

“As routine our engineers and surveyors examined the site and ruled it fit for an attraction of this size.

“We have of course been in constant liaison with the operators and will continue to be so for the duration of its stay.”

This comes after the manager of the wheel described the opening weekend as ‘extremely successful’.

To find out more about the wheel and watch a video of our reporters trying out the attraction, click here.

To read reporter Elaine Hammond’s verdict on the wheel, click here.