A company that has developed giant wheels in China and Georgia wants to build Europe’s tallest observation wheel in the British city of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The so-called “Whey Aye” (a nod to local slang) would be built overlooking Newcastle’s Quayside on the site of the former Spillers’ Flour Mill, which was demolished in 2011. Standing 140 metres high, the proposed wheel is five metres taller than the London Eye.
Although its design is more traditional than its counterpart in the UK capital, the Newcastle wheel promises a world-record breaking 10,000 sq m LED digital screen as its centrepiece. This will be used to communicate information about local culture and events as well as social media content and advertising.
The £100 million ($130m) project has secured endorsements from Newcastle and England footbal stalwart Alan Shearer and prominent North East businessman Graham Wylie, co-founder of accountancy software company The Sage Group. A detailed planning application relating to the wheel and associated visitor attractions is due to be submitted to Newcastle City Council later this year by World Wheel Company.
In addition to the ride itself, they want to develop a bar and restaurant area as well as a multimedia visitor attraction called the Giants of the North Experience, celebrating the achievements of the region’s famous creative and sporting individuals as well as its ship building and mining community. A family entertainment centre and multi-purpose sports/play complex are also outlined in the plans.
The World Wheel Company has previously built and operated giant observation wheels and FECs around the world. These include 120m and 90m wheels in Suzhou, China, and Tbilisi, Georgia, respectively. It is believed the Whey Aye will be fabricated in China.