Plans to bring Torquay's Big Wheel back for the summer

Torbay Weekly

Torquay’s big wheel is set to tower over the seafront this summer as planners get ready to approve the attraction once again.

Though the 50-metre-high observation wheel has been a hit with visitors for almost a decade, plans to reinstate it have stirred some controversy.

The operator, James Mellor Ltd, a Nottingham-based amusement park company, wants to once again put the wheel in the listed Princess Gardens area next to the grade-II listed pavilion, war memorial and fountain.

Torbay Heritage Trust says the application should be withdrawn or ‘unquestionably’ refused because of the negative effect it will have on listed assets which surround it.

To make up for the disruption, officers have recommended that planning permission be granted subject to a £20,000 ring-fenced fund being paid by the attraction’s operators to go towards restoring the war memorial.

They also noted that the previous five-year temporary planning permission secured around £130,000 that directly funded the area’s grade-II listed fountain.

Visitors to the wheel sit in individual pods and are treated to views over Princess Gardens and Torquay Harbour.

If given the go-ahead, the wheel will be built alongside two temporary ticket offices and a seated catering area.

Torbay Council’s planning committee will meet on Monday, March 14, to decide on the plans and, if it agreed, the operator will have permission to install the wheel until the end of October.