Millennium Wheel Eyes up a permanent siting

Story by Jack Foley

TOURISTS will be able to get a bird’s eye view of the capital whenever they want if Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, gives final approval for the London Eye to be made a permanent fixture in the city skyline.

Lambeth councillors have already voted unanimously to grant the attraction permanent planning permission, leaving the final decision over the Millennium Wheel’s future in the hands of Mayor Ken and the Environment Secretary.

The 450-feet structure has become one of the capital’s most popular tourist attractions since being launched in March 2000 to mark the start of the millennium. Over 8.5 million visitors have taken the opportunity of seeing the capital from a great height, an average of 10,000 a day.

However, the wheel wasn’t always intended to be a permanent fixture and only originally had planning permission for five years. Now, however, Lambeth councillors are asking that it be allowed to remain in place for at least another 25 years, with a review after 20 years to consider whether it should remain absolutely.

Both Mr Livingstone and the Environment Secretary after expected to deliver their final decision on the British Airways-operated attraction in autumn this year.

Commenting before councillors in Lambeth arrived at their decision, David Marks, of Marks Barfield Architects, who designed the wheel, said that it had helped to transform London’s skyline and had played an important economic role in regenerating the South Bank.

He added that few people could have expected the enormous success of the attraction - which served to soften the blow of the ill-fated Dome’s disappointment.

RELATED LINKS: Click here for the official London Eye site...

RELATED STORIES: Click here for the Indielondon verdict on the Eye experience...