Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Is THISWHEELY a Good Idea for Our Great City?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Is THISWHEELY a Good Idea for Our Great City?

Article excerpt

Byline: DANIEL HOLLAND Local Democracy Reporter

ONE of Newcastle's top councillors has launched a scathing attack on the controversial bid to build Europe's biggest observation wheel on the Quayside.

Nick Kemp, a high-ranking Labour figure at the civic centre, has accused the firm behind the PS100m Whey Aye development of showing "absolute contempt" to residents in his Byker ward. In a five-page objection letter, he also condemns the project's "perverse" approach to tackling climate change and warns that the thousands of visitors to the 460ft wheel would "inevitably place considerable strain" on public transport.

Coun Kemp's intervention comes as Newcastle City Council prepares to decide on the fate of the Spillers Wharf site, with a planning hearing expected to be held on July 26.

The World Wheel Company says it remains "totally committed to delivering jobs, continued investment and a new destination for Newcastle".

In his objection, the cabinet member for environment and climate change writes that he has received an "overwhelming response made by the local community" opposing the Whey Aye.

He adds: "As someone who has run many public engagement services for significant planning applications across the country, I am amazed at just how little this applicant has undertaken, no real direct engagement with the local people all of whom will be impacted upon, no attempt to look to how local people might benefit.

"Simply sign up some big agencies and companies from the area, run some press articles and assume we will be all grateful for the development, this has shown absolute contempt to local people."

The huge plans also include a 39ft statue named 'The Geordie Giant', a food and drink complex, and other sport and leisure attractions.

It is not the first time Coun Kemp has spoken out on a major planning issue, having objected just a few months ago to "insane" proposals to build 58 riverview apartments next to Byker tip - a plan that civic centre planning officers had been supportive of. …

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