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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
London Eye 'to stay'
Wheel pod and Big Ben
The wheel is a popular tourist attraction
Plans to make the London Eye a permanent attraction have passed the first planning hurdle.

Officials at Lambeth Council have recommended approving an application that the observation wheel should stand for at least 25 years.

There would then be a review after 20 years to consider whether it should be granted permanent status.

London Eye
Seven million people have ridden the wheel

The London Eye, operated by British Airways, opened on the south bank of the Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament in January 2000.

The 450-foot high wheel, one of London's most popular tourist attractions, currently has planning permission for only five years. Councillors will consider the application on 23 July.

Supporters of the wheel say permanent planning approval will release investment for the improvement of the attraction and local facilities, and help other businesses plan for the future.

'Enormous success'

About seven million people - an average of about 10,000 a day - have taken a ride on the wheel since it opened.

"Few people could have predicted that enormous success," said David Marks, of Marks Barfield Architects, who designed the wheel.

"It has transformed the London skyline and played an important economic role in regenerating the South Bank and in maintaining tourism for London - even in these difficult times."


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10 Dec 01 | England
20 Nov 01 | England
05 Mar 00 | Business
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