THE DAZZLING light display on Stratford’s observation wheel has been toned down.
Flashing lights on the returning wheel attracted a string of complaints. Some called it ‘tacky’ and like something belonging in Las Vegas, although there were a few who welcomed the additional colour to the town’s skyline.
Former mayor Roy Lodge was among those unimpressed by the new light display.
He said: “This was quite a stunning and gobsmacking display, that was overpowering and suitable for a fun fair in a large city or town not for Stratford upon Avon.
“It would seem the area planning committee had no intention to respect and protect the character and heritage of the town and were more interested in giving the town a different perspective rather than improving the perception and image of the town.
“Stratford must be known for its big wheel and illuminations rather than its historic ambiance and legacy?”
A spokeswoman for Stratford District Council said they had contacted new operator Danter Attractions, which will operate the controversial wheel on the recreation ground car park for the next three summers.
She said: “Once the council was aware of the colourful and flashing lighting on the observation wheel the applicants were contacted and reminded of the conditions on the planning approval.
“The applicants have assured us that they will comply with the planning conditions going forward.”
The wheel divided opinion during its first year of operation last summer with many claiming it was out of keeping with Shakespeare’s Stratford and had no place in the town.
Mr Lodge added townspeople were in a no win situation, forced to accept its return for the next three summers – despite last year’s wheel not receiving the expected level of custom.
The attraction caused much debate, prompting over 200 objections to its original planning application. But when reconsidering
extending permission this year the council received just ten objections.
A planning report concluded the wheel would reinforce and promote Stratford’s role as tourist destination, and while it recognised it would have some ‘detrimental impact’ on the area, it was not substantial and would only be temporary.