Bid to bring giant Olympic wheel to Torquay seafront
A GIANT wheel used for the Olympic Village could be coming to Torbay.
Operators of the 55-metre high observation wheel are in talks with Torbay Council about bringing it to the Princess Gardens from mid-August to the end of October.
It is currently at the Olympic Park in London and was used in Hyde Park last year as part of the royal wedding celebrations.
Nick Vass, events planning manager for Nottingham-based Mellors Group, said: "We are very keen to come to Torquay and are in discussions at the moment.
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"It is a large structure and it has to be in a position that will attract people.
"We know it is a very short timeframe and if it cannot happen this year, then we would be very keen to come back next year."
The observation wheel could be sited next to the Pavilion at Princess Gardens.
It would mean the temporary removal of a Torbay palm within a small flower bed.
The authority said it would be carefully potted up and reinstated after the wheel has gone.
A Torbay Council spokesman said the firm got in contact as part of the expressions of interest process for concessions for the beach areas.
He said: "We did show the operator a number of potential sites for the attraction, but a section of Princess Gardens next to the Pavilion in Torquay was the only spot the operator would consider.
"We understand there was considerable support for the observation wheel proposal at a recent meeting of the Torquay Neighbourhood Planning Forum. We are waiting for information from our structural engineering team relating to the suitability of the proposed site before making a decision on whether to grant a temporary licence to the operator.
"We hope to be in a position to make a decision in the next week or so."
Cllr Darren Cowell raised the proposal at Torbay's Neighbourhood Plan Forum.
He said: "I think it could be a really interesting attraction to extend the season and importantly, would not be of any cost to the council."
Forum chairman Susie Colley said members agreed in principle but welcomed a business plan.