Iconic landmark set to leave city centre early

THE Wheel of Sheffield, one of the city's most iconic new landmarks, is spinning to a halt – with a decision to close it three months early.

Great City Attractions, which owns the 200ft Ferris wheel, has announced plans for the last ride on October 31.

It will then be dismantled and moved to London's Hyde Park.

The wheel, which towers above most other buildings at the top of Fargate, has become a much-loved city centre landmark and news of its demise may spark renewed interest and calls to keep it.

It is estimated that more than half a million people have already been on the wheel since it opened last year on July 20.

The transportable wheel installation was originally intended to remain until January this year.

But it proved so popular in its first six months that planning permission was sought and granted for a further year of operation – with revised plans to keep it in the city until at least January 2011.

A fall in numbers and an opportunity to relocate the attraction in the capital is understood to be behind a decision to now halt the wheel earlier than planned.

Online ticket bookings are now only available until the end of next month.

It is understood that the owners have not ruled out bringing it back to the city at a future date.

The wheel has 42 passenger cars, each with an eight-person capacity and a three-revolution trip on the wheel takes around 13 minutes.

The ride features a commentary pointing out local landmarks and places of interest.

Sheffield Council was told in January this year that monthly footfall in the city centre had increased six per cent since the wheel was erected in July – against a five per cent national decline in other cities.

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