Three-year permission granted for new Yarmouth ferris wheel

The gondolas of the giant wheel in front a blue sky with bright white clouds

Last year's 'Yarmouth Eye' ferris wheel stood on the seafront from April until October. A new wheel, operated by a different company will soon operate in the same space for three years. - Credit: James Weeds

A new ferris wheel will become a landmark on Great Yarmouth’s seafront for the next three years, councillors have unanimously decided.

The new ride will stand in the same place as last year's popular "Yarmouth Eye", which was operated by a different company and stood north of the Sea Life centre from April until October. 

At 50m tall, the wheel will be roughly the same height as last year’s too. 

The decision to grant the new three-year permission, which had been applied for by Observation Wheel UK Ltd, was made by members of the borough council’s development control committee on Wednesday. 

Labour councillor and former Yarmouth MP Tony Wright said that while he supported the new proposal, the previous wheel had left the tarmac and grass around it in “quite a bad state” and he didn’t want the same thing to happen with any new structure.

Tony Wright speaking at the unveiling of a blue plaque to mark the 30th anniversary of Crimestoppers

Labour councillor and former MP Tony Wright said the previous wheel had caused some damage to the tarmac and grass around it. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

An officer proposed that a condition be added to any permission, forcing the operators to ensure the site is restored to its original condition before the end of the three-year term.

The committee’s Conservative chair, Carl Annison said: “I think this is great for Great Yarmouth. [It was] very popular. Many, many people I know went on the one that was there before.”

Officers recommended that councillors give the proposal their approval, having written in a report ahead of the meeting: “The minor level of heritage harm and impact on the appearance of the seafront and overall historic nature of the town is considered to be outweighed by the economic benefits and the importance of social recreation.”

They added the attraction would have the effect of “boosting the town's recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and enhancing the town's reputation and attraction as a 'staycation' destination.”

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The 18-spoked wheel will hold 36 gondolas - each holding a maximum of six people.

Once constructed, the attraction will open from 11am until 9pm on weekdays, Sundays, and bank and public holidays - and until 10pm on Saturdays. 

The wheel, which would remain fully assembled even throughout the less-touristy winter season, is expected to create six full-time jobs for the people operating it.