Newcastle Quayside set to receive £100m observation wheel larger than the London Eye
Developers have announced plans to build Europe’s tallest observation wheel on Newcastle Quayside in a project that could see more than £100m invested in the city with 550 jobs created.
Standing 140 metres high, the observation wheel - dubbed ‘The Whey Aye’ in celebration of its location - will be five metres taller than the London Eye.
The wheel will also have a supposed record breaking 10,000 sq m LED digital screen as its centre piece, which will be used to communicate information about local culture and events as well as social media content and advertising.
Such is the nature and scale of the project, it is has already gained endorsements from Newcastle and England football legend, Alan Shearer, and North East businessman and co-founder of accountancy software company The Sage Group, Graham Wylie.
It is proposed that the wheel is built at the East end of the Quayside on the location of the former Spillers’ Flour Mill, demolished in 2011 and has lain vacant since.
The plans include a pedestrianised experience featuring premium bars and restaurants and a world-leading 9,000 sq m visitor attraction called the Giants of the North Experience.
Along with the Giants of the North Experience, the plans will deliver a family entertainment centre and a multi-purpose play and sports complex, with covered five-a-side pitches and tennis courts, as well as a virtual golf club.
The plans were announced by the World Wheel Company, which has built and operated global giant observation wheels and family entertainment centres, including 120 metre and 90 metre wheels in Suzhou, China, and Tbilisi, Georgia.
Commenting on the plans, Alan Shearer said: “I think it would be great news for Newcastle. It’s just what the city needs.
“A new iconic attraction that celebrates our rich history and culture, while creating jobs and income for the people. A development like this would have my full support.”
According to the World Wheel Company, the wheel will offer 30-minute ‘flights’ and there are plans to accommodate more than 800,000 visitors in its first year.
The entire development is predicted to take 18 to 24 months to build, once planning has been formally approved.
Commenting on the proposals, Phil Lynagh, chief executive officer of World Wheel Company’s Newcastle operation, added: “This is without doubt one of the most exciting investment and regeneration projects in the UK, if not the world.
“Representing an overall investment of more than £100m, it will create up to 550 local jobs and deliver local building contracts worth in excess of £20m.
“The developments will attract continued investment through more visitors spending an increased amount of time in the city and the region.
“At World Wheel Company, we always strive to deliver sustainable commercial plans that benefit the entire community over time, particularly through long-term job creation and ongoing income generation for local government and private commercial partners.
“The plans being submitted are specifically designed to achieve these same benefits for Newcastle and the wider North East.”