Big wheel to return to Birmingham
The foundations of Birmingham’s big wheel were laid last night in preparation for the return of the popular tourist attraction.
Construction work began to build the 60ft observation wheel in Centenary Square - but the city’s skyline will not change overnight.
City council bosses say it will take a total of two weeks to build and open at the end of the month for the Christmas and winter season.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to take a ride on the wheel, informally known as the Birmingham Eye.
It will be of a similar design to the last wheel of Birmingham in 2006, which was sold to an Australian company for £3.5 million and transported to the Gold Coast.
The new structure which will become a fixture of the city’s skyline until February 2010, will consist of 42 covered and fully heated gondolas, allowing the public to get bird’s eye views of the city in comfort.
It will be brought to Birmingham by Great City Attractions Ltd, a company which was formed in Birmingham and opened its first wheel in the city for Christmas 2003.
The company has since gone on to own and operate 10 wheels around the world and now owns the largest wheel in the world, the Singapore Flyer, which stands at 165 metres.
Coun Martin Mullaney, cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said: “This is another great attraction for the city and a great addition to our Christmas events programme, which is one of the UK’s biggest and best. We hope it will be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.”
Birmingham Christmas events begin on November 12 with the launch of the Frankfurt Market, followed by the free Christmas Lights Switch On concert on Saturday 14, and the Reindeer and Lantern Parade on Sunday 15.