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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 September 2006, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
Two hours' notice as wheel closes
Birmingham Wheel
Birmingham was the first city in the UK to host the wheel
The operators of Birmingham's answer to the London Eye have announced to the public it is to leave - with just two hours' notice before its last ride.

World Tourist Attractions admitted the decision was sudden but said they had been made an offer by an Australian firm that they "could not refuse".

The last ferris wheel ride was at 1800 BST before work began to dismantle it.

Birmingham City Council has advised people who have bought advance tickets to contact the operators for refunds.

It was a fairly quick decision to move but it's down to commercial realities, frankly, an offer we could not refuse
Nigel Ward, World Tourist Attractions

The tourist attraction, previously located close to the Champs-Elysee in Paris and believed to be the largest transportable wheel in the world, was erected in Centenary Square in November 2003.

It offered a 15-minute ride - in 42 six-seater gondolas - revealing views across Birmingham and the Black Country.

Alicia Renolds, one of the people who went on the wheel for the last time, told BBC News that she was shocked to hear it was to relocate.

"I did not know it was closing, I think it's a great shame as it's nice to see everything around the city."

Nigel Ward, from World Tourist Attractions told BBC News that business needs dictate that they move their wheels - also located in the city of York and Dresden in Germany - "to locations that make commercial sense".

'Time to move on'

"We would have liked to have a contract that left a wheel permanently in the city but our requirement is that a normal contracts lasts between six months to three years," he said.

"Obviously, as a commercial company we move them to locations that make commercial sense.

"It's our third term in the city and the council have been great as business partners but, sadly the time has come to move on."

Mr Ward added that "tentative discussions" were under way with Birmingham City Council about bringing another wheel to the city.

"It was a fairly quick decision to move but it's down to commercial realities, frankly, an offer we could not refuse." he added.

UK wheel offers views of Paris
02 Dec 03 |  West Midlands
Birmingham Eye opens to public
06 Nov 03 |  West Midlands
Plans for a Birmingham Eye
03 Oct 02 |  England

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