Page last updated at 08:13 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

Titanic row over city's big wheel


The wheel is blocking access to the Titanic memorial

Belfast's big wheel is blocking the route to a memorial to those who died in the legendary Titanic disaster.

Belfast's Titanic Society could not lay a wreath at the memorial in the City Hall grounds on Sunday because the fair wheel was in their way.

Either the wheel or the memorial must be moved, is the message from the society.

Members finally marked 50 years of the city's Titanic memorial by laying a wreath on the gangway to the wheel.

The structure behind the wheel made it impossible to do anything else.

Belfast Lord Mayor Naomi Long who was at the ceremony said the wheel was not there permanently.

"It is not a permanent fixture. We have recognised that. But there may be other more appropriate locations which would be more protected in terms of remembrance that may be suitable for the memorial itself," she said.

"That is part of ongoing discussions. I would be hopeful that we could come to a more suitable solution than the one we have."

The Titanic liner, built in Belfast's Harland & Wolff's shipyard, sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

The story has had a grip on the imagination that has crossed national and generational boundaries and is one that people in the city where the Titanic was built want to keep alive.

Every year the Belfast Titanic Society leaves a wreath at a memorial to the lost lives of the disaster.

The wheel has been in position at the city hall since 2007. In May, councillors voted to keep it at its current location for two more years.

There have been discussions about a possible move to the city's Titanic Quarter.

The Environment Agency wants to ensure the wheel does not become a permanent feature beside the city hall which is a listed building.

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