Pier in talks to bring new attraction to seaside town

Closeup of Singapore Flyer - the second largest Ferris Wheel in the World.

The owners of Clacton Pier have begun talks to bring a new top class attraction, an observatory wheel, to the seaside landmark (stock image) - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/LenaMeyer

A smaller version of the London Eye could be coming to Clacton seafront if plans at the historic landmark come to fruition.

The owners of the pier have begun talks to bring the new top class attraction dating back to 1871 to the site - with discussions taking place with a number of leading European manufacturers.

An approach has also been made to Tendring District Council’s (TDC) planning department over securing the necessary permission needed for the 40-metre high structure, which would be less than a third of the size of the London Eye. 

Agreement will be required as the height is over and above what could be put up under normal usage.

Billy Ball, the pier's director, said the observation wheel is one he and his brother, Elliot, have wanted to provide since the family took over the attraction in 2009.  

Crowds gathered to try out the new log flume at Clacton Pier. Picture: CLACTON PIER

The new log flume at Clacton Pier has proved to be a hit with residents and tourists. - Credit: Archant


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“It is an ambition and something we have thought about over many years and now we feel the time is right to try to achieve it," he said. 

"Talks with various companies and TDC are the first phase of the project and we can move forward from there if they are successful."

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Mr Ball is looking at a wheel which is similar to those seen in many major cities around the world, providing a fantastic view of the coastline and along the beaches towards the town's golf club. 

“A lot has been done by both the public and private sector to improve our seafront which is now one we can truly be proud of again," said Mr Ball. 

"We need to make the very most of what is a jewel in our crown.

"Observation wheels have become an iconic addition to many cities and seaside towns and appeal to all ages, being financially beneficial to not only the operator but the wider local economy."

Clacton Pier from the air Picture: TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL

Clacton Pier was built in 1871 and remains the town’s most iconic seaside attraction drawing almost one million visitors each year. - Credit: Archant

He said wheels are a "great blend of nostalgia, romance, and the modern age of social media", with many becoming a popular site for marriage proposals. 

Mr Ball hopes the idea will gain support from residents, visitors, and the council, so that plans can proceed.

"Clacton must continue to aim high if we are going to flourish as a destination and this will certainly be right up there," he said.  

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