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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May, 2005, 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
London Eye 'safe from eviction'
London Eye
Part of the structure stands in the Jubilee Gardens
The owners of the London Eye site have denied they are planning a massive rent rise for the landmark.

Last week it was reported that the owners of the tourist attraction on the South Bank had been served with an eviction notice.

It was understood the South Bank Centre (SBC) wanted to increase the rent from 65,000 a year to 1m.

But the SBC said it had proposed a fair rent for the site and there was "no likelihood of the Eye facing eviction".

An SBC spokesman said they fully recognised the Eye's importance to London and that it "has never claimed rent of 2.5m for itself at any point in these negotiations".

Large debt

"As a charitable trust managing public funds we have an obligation to secure a fair market rent.

"The actual level that we have proposed is entirely in keeping with this obligation."

The Tories and the Liberal Democrats had called on the government to intervene amid fears it would harm London's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.

At his monthly press conference on Tuesday, London mayor Ken Livingstone was asked whether the popularity of the London Eye meant it should be paying more rent.

But he said the cost of building the Eye had turned out to be "tremendously more than anticipated", leaving its owners with a multi-million pound debt.

"It's not a situation that this thing is just grossing the money and 'fat cat' directors are living the life of Riley," he said.

"[Bringing] down that debt would be delayed if the rent went up."

Part of the wheel's support structure is on Jubilee Gardens, which was given to the SBC for 1 when the Greater London Council was broken up.

London Eye 'to stay'
16 Jul 02 |  England

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