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Decision time for Stratford's big wheel

A CRUCIAL meeting being held in Stratford-upon-Avon this evening could decide if the town does get a big wheel on the Recreation Ground.

“Devastated” is how protestors to the proposed wheel have reacted to news that Stratford District Council’s West Planning Committee are expected to grant planning permission for the wheel for a six month period.

Despite fierce opposition from numerous objectors including Stratford Town Council, Stratford Boat Club, Warwickshire County Council’s Highway Authority, a community group called Stop The Wheel and hundreds of members of the public, the district council committee recommendation, which will be heard at a crucial meeting next Wednesday, 6th July, reads: “Grant planning permission for a period of 6 months subject to conditions.”

The news comes as a heavy body blow to nearby residents to the proposed wheel on Stratford’s Recreation Ground like Sue Newman, who runs the Riverside Tea Garden in Swan’s Nest Lane. This week she said: “I am devastated that the planning officer has not seen fit to refuse the application for a ferris wheel. The application for an observation wheel is just a funfair ride in disguise. I have to ask why the planning department asks consultees for their opinion and when a principle inspector of Historic England responds with a recommendation to refuse this appears to be ignored.”

But the proposed wheel operators De Koning Leisure Group Limited has this week moved to reassure residents about the wheel’s presence and permanency in the town.

“We will have to wait and see what happens at the meeting. I know there have been a lot of objections but we’ll have to see how it goes. I would just say it is a temporary installation and will be gone by next January. It’s not like Brexit, it’s not permanent and if it’s not a success then that’s it,” said Jan de Koning, managing director of De Koning Leisure.

The wheel meeting takes place this evening Wednesday, 6th July at Elizabeth House, Stratford District Council, at 6.15pm and is open to the public.

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