Giant wheel could come to Worthing seafront for three years

An impression of the giant wheel
An impression of the giant wheel

Worthing seafront could be set to host a giant observation wheel for a three-year period, following the success of the temporary attraction in Steyne Gardens earlier this year.

The Worthing Observation Wheel would be situated on the seafront in the area between The Beacon and the Beach Office at the bottom of Montague Place.

The wheel in Steyne Gardens earlier this year

The wheel in Steyne Gardens earlier this year

Worthing Borough Council is seeking to enter into a three-year lease arrangement, with the wheel operating for a six to nine month period between April and October and then being dismantled for the winter.

At a height of 46 metres, it would have a total of 36 pods with a capacity of six people each.

The new proposal builds on the success of the Big Wheel which operated in Steyne Gardens over the Easter period, which attracted more than 10,000 visitors in a month, despite poor weather conditions.

The council began to examine opportunities to bring a more longer term attraction to the seafront as part of its efforts to stimulant new economic growth and visitors to the town, a council spokesman said.

An impression of the giant wheel

An impression of the giant wheel

An open procurement exercise was carried out by the council to identify an operator.

One company, deKoning Leisure Ltd, which had run the Steyne Gardens wheel, responded to the call and after a careful evaluation, it was decided to proceed, the spokesman said.

The company will bear the costs of constructing the base on the beach and the wheel, which will be a new construction specifically for Worthing, said the spokesman.

It has also agreed to make a financial contribution to the council depending on profit, the spokesman said.

There will be no financial contribution from the council except for some officer time and the company will bear the costs of dismantling the wheel and removing the base at the end of the three years.

Permission to go ahead with developing the proposal, planned for next year, has to be given by Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Cllr Kevin Jenkins, later this month and then gain planning permission.

Councillor Jenkins said: “I have had a look at this proposal and, in principal, it looks fantastic.

"I will of course look at all aspects of the report but from what I’ve seen so far this has the potential to be a wonderful iconic seafront attraction which will give amazing panoramic views of our beautiful town.

“The company would be taking all the risk but when we saw the popularity of the wheel at Steyne Gardens earlier this year I thought it is well worth exploring a more elaborate offer, that could give Worthing its own unique selling point and attract visitors to the town as a destination of choice.

“We are transforming this seafront town with proposals to improve our streets and walkways and restaurants wanting to open up here. There’s plenty more to come!”

Cllr Jenkins will spend the next few days weighing up the report produced by the Council’s Place and Economy team before deciding whether to give the go-ahead, the spokesman said.

It will then go forward to the planning committee.

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