Wheels in motion for Stratford's most controversial attraction - The Stratford Observer
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19th Aug, 2022

Wheels in motion for Stratford's most controversial attraction

THE WHEELS are in motion for the return of Stratford’s most controversial attraction.

Stratford District Council has been searching for an operator for the London Eye style wheel which last summer received a mixed reaction from townsfolk.

Two bidders have responded to the advert which closed last week, in time for its return in March through to September.

And unless the council decide otherwise, the wheel will operate for a further two summers on the recreation ground car park next to the Tramway Bridge.

The original plans for the 35 metre wheel prompted more than 200 objections from residents who argued it would be out of keeping with Shakespeare’s Stratford.

But a planning report weighing up the decision for its return, considered the location of the wheel to be ‘compatible’ with the area which was ‘generally used for public recreation’.

Former Stratford mayor Roy Lodge who objected to the wheel the first time round, still believed the wheel had no place on Stratford’s skyline.

He added: “It ought to be down the river near playgrounds and to benefit those who enjoy that sort of thing.

“It just doesn’t integrate with the surroundings and the compact area it is in, in terms of its scale, height and appearance.

“I was very surprised to hear it was coming back especially following how many people objected the first time and when it arrived, I noticed it was sometimes empty.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Peter Moorse said whether the attraction was a good for the town depended on its ability to produce a worthwhile income for council taxpayers.

And Stratfordward director Joe Baconett said he did not think the wheel was a big draw for visitors to Stratford last summer, but equally did not think it was the eyesore residents had feared.

Wheel operator De Koning Leisure Group, which paid the council £155,000 in rental income, revealed the wheel had not attracted the level of custom anticipated by the company.

It declined to comment on how many people rode the wheel, or how much the company generated from ticket sales.

It is not known if the former operator is one of the two bidders.

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