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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 August 2005, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Giant wheel flops with visitors
The big wheel
The big wheel has not proved as popular as hoped
A ferris wheel installed on the banks of the Gateshead quayside a month ago has flopped with visitors.

The 196ft-high (60m) attraction, in between the prestigious Baltic Arts Centre and the Sage building, was a hit during the Tall Ships Race week.

But its owner World Tourist Attractions said it has not been as popular as it was in Manchester and Paris.

Many visitors think the touring wheel is too expensive charging 5.50 for adults and 3.50 for children's rides.

Jessica Setoe, of World Tourist Attractions, said: "The wheel has been popular but it hasn't been as popular as it could be.

"It attracted more people when it was in other cities." The wheel will be in the North East until the end of September.

Engineering hurdles

Coun John McElroy Cabinet member for culture for Gateshead Council, urged people to take advantage of the wheel.

He said: "The wheel is in a unique spot and gives one-off views of the area.

"When the wheel leaves, the spot where it is standing will be cleared to make way for leisure facilities, so this is people's last chance to appreciate the views."

The massive structure - dubbed the Gateshead Eye - had to overcome a number of planning and engineering hurdles.

Engineers had to assure the authorities that the area around the riverside was stable enough to support the structure's 365 tonnes.

The wheel, worth about 3.5m, has 42 gondolas, each capable of carrying up to eight people.

It also features 21 giant steel spokes and 50,000 lightbulbs.

Big wheel plans axed at 11th hour
03 Mar 05 |  North Yorkshire
UK wheel offers views of Paris
02 Dec 03 |  West Midlands

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