By Ruth Hazard
Local residents claim they weren’t properly informed about plans for the Brighton Ferris Wheel currently being erected on the Madeira Drive seafront.
Plans for the wheel were approved in April but Audrey Simpson, whose property overlooks the site of Brighton O, claims that residents were not consulted on the proposal.
“Unfortunately The Argus is not read by everyone, some of us do not receive The Leader and the majority of people don’t have the spare time or the inclination to pour over websites showing planning applications.
“It is the duty of Brighton and Hove City Council to undertake public consultation on planning applications. In the case of this Ferris wheel proposed for the seafront, few residents were informed of the application. Many of those residents wrote to the council objecting.”
There is concern over the fact the wheel is being built in a conservation area and will be illuminated 24 hours a day.
The attraction’s opening hours, from 10am to midnight, have also caused residents to worry over noise disturbance and further light pollution from floodlights that are to be used for people waiting in the queues.
Mrs Simpson branded the wheel ‘a gross intrusion of privacy’ as she says the wheel will look into the bedrooms and living rooms of residents in the buildings opposite.
The wheel currently has planning permission to stay in place for five years and will create 30 full-time jobs.
The 45m tall wheel, which costs £6 million, is hoped to attract 250,000 visitors a year and give a boost to businesses who suffer during the off-peak season in Brighton.
Planning consultant Ian Coomber says: “Local businesses can see this new attraction as a lifeline and a welcome boost in these challenging times. The site offers opportunity to stretch activity into an area of the seafront so desperately in need of regeneration and investment.”
Mr. Coomber does admit there were no pre-application discussions with residents but that the wheel is situated 95 metres away from the closest property and at a much lower level.
He also says that the property is smoke-screened and the spectator’s eye will be drawn out to the coast, rather than into the buildings.
The wheel was previously located in Paris in 2008, Copenhagen in 2009 and Cape Town in 2010.It is hoped the attraction will be finished and opened by next month.