Loss of wheel will leave 'a big hole' in Plymouth
RESIDENTS, tourists and businesses have spoken of their "shock and disappointment" that the "iconic" Plymouth big wheel will be dismantled next month, writes Jason Lock.
It is understood that owners of the 53-metre high attraction, Shipley Investments Ltd, will start to take it down on November 12 and that it will take two weeks to remove.
Ché Floyd, owner of Valenti's cafe and bar situated on the Hoe, said; "The impact of the wheel is easy to see. It couples well with the other attractions around the Hoe.
"It puts Plymouth on the map. We're the regional capital with this huge attraction. It could leave a big hole in the Hoe."
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Siobhan Harrison, from Plymouth, who has taken her six-year-old daughter, Grace, on the wheel twice, said; "I couldn't believe it when I heard the wheel was going. I'm shocked. It is really disappointing to see it go.
"I hope it does not have a knock on effect for the rest of the Hoe area. It seems to bring a lot of people up to the Hoe, even if it is just for the curiosity factor."
Friends Audrey Williams, 78, and Christine Cottingham, 70, said that they had travelled for nearly two hours from Porthleven in Cornwall, just to ride on the Plymouth big wheel.
Mrs Williams said; "We are so disappointed. We had a ride on the big wheel this time last year and really wanted to hop on there again. It has broken my heart to think that I will not be able to do this again. We are still shocked."
A former employee at the Plymouth wheel, who does not wish to be named, said it was unsurprising that the wheel would be removed. The employee said: "We were told our hours were being cut in September. We were assured that the wheel would stay in Plymouth until after Christmas, but were warned that it could close down at any point. We were assured that we would be given one month's notice of closure, regardless of our length of service. This never happened."
University of Plymouth student, Tom Atterton, 24, said; "It really is such a shame to see the wheel go, Plymouth would not be the same without it.
"It's iconic in the city. If there is ever a time when I feel lost, I always look for the wheel as a reference point."
The wheel is currently not open to the public, and was originally due to be removed on January 7.
The former owners of the wheel, Birmingham's Great City Attractions Global Ltd, fell into administration in August. It was retained by Shipley Investments which brought in The Hall Organisation Ltd to run the wheel before it closed.
When Birmingham's Great City Attractions Global Ltd went into administration it owed £6million in total.