The Brighton Wheel’s bid to stay open for another five years has been given a boost after planning officers recommend it be granted.
The application will be decided by Brighton and Hove’s new planning committee on Wednesday.
The council has received 25 letters objecting to the extension, and 84 supporting it.
However, even if the planning extension to 2021 is granted, the wheel must still convince the council to extend its lease, which the rival i360 strongly objects to.
And comments included in the report from the council’s economic development department indicate the wheel may be fighting a losing battle.
The department comments: “The council recently approved a seafront investment programme which brings together a portfolio of projects and seafront initiatives together as a co-ordinated programme of work and identifies the major development projects that will contribute to the development of the tourist and visitor economy.
“The i360 development is a key component of this investment programme and will deliver significant investment and employment to the seafront.
“The Brighton Wheel because of its temporary nature is not identified in this longer term investment programme therefore the proposal should be refused.”
And although the wheel has garnered substantial public support, many of the city’s official bodies have lined up to object.
The Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership said: “Whilst competition is not a planning matter, it seems illogical that the i360, which has received public money from the PWLB and will generate money for the public purse, could be jeopardised.”
And the Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance said: “Brighton is a city that thrives on co-operation and successful businesses are ones who engage, which the wheel has not done.
“Failure to meet predicted visitor targets could well be a reflection of not working strategically in partnership with other tourist providers.
“The wheel has not achieved more tourists coming here. The wheel is a stop gap attraction and should not ride on the coat tails of the i360.”
The Kingscliffe Society also objected, saying: “The wheel has not significantly contributed towards tourism/economy due to low visitor numbers – there have never been any queues and restaurants opposite in the terraces have closed down.
“There is a severe effect to nearby residents due to being overpowering, ever-present, intimidating and a blot on the landscape.”
But the Regency Society supported the bid, while saying its surroundings needed tidying up: “The wheel is a beneficial addition to the seafront and provides striking views from various parts of the city.
“The appearance at ground level is untidy and inappropriate and improvement should be required.”
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