Page last updated at 18:34 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Agency 'puts spoke' in Big Wheel

Belfast's Big Wheel
The Big Wheel may move to the Titantic Quarter

The big wheel at Belfast City Hall is facing a challenge to plans for an extended stay.

The Environment Agency has lodged an objection to a new planning application for 2009 from the 60-metre wheel's owners in England.

It came to City Hall in October last year for a limited period. Earlier this year it secured planning approval to remain until New Year's Eve.

Talks are under way over a possible move to Titanic Quarter.

Another planning application was submitted a fortnight ago, looking to extend its stay until next August.

Objection

The application had the support of Belfast City Council, which would be paid more than 4,000 a month by the wheel's operators, World Tourist Attractions.

However, an objection was lodged by the Environment Agency who told the BBC it wanted to put down a marker to ensure the wheel did not become a permanent feature beside a listed building.

A decision has yet to be made on the application.

World Tourist Attractions would not comment on its application, but a spokesman said other venues would be looked at if it had to be moved.

Councillors would like to see the wheel installed in the Titanic Quarter in time for a Tall Ships event in the summer.

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