Central Pier in Blackpool is to get a ‘bigger’ £4 million Big Wheel

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A new Big Wheel is to be built on Central Pier, it was announced.

 

The attraction, which will cost £4 million, will take a year to make and hopefully open before summer 2023.

The Blackpool Pier Company, which owns the resort’s three piers, said: “It’s been something we’ve been planning for a while and we couldn’t be prouder to be part of something that will help shape the future of Blackpool’s tourism by upscaling this iconic attraction.

“We are, as they say, going large!”

Central Pier's Big Wheel, pictured in May 2020 (Picture: Dave Nelson)

Central Pier’s Big Wheel, pictured in May 2020 (Picture: Dave Nelson)

The current wheel – built in Holland 36 years ago and brought over in containers to be reassembled on the pier, which was purposefully strengthened to accommodate the weight – stands at 108ft tall and is a firm favourite for wedding proposals, film projects, and holiday snapshots.

Made by Dutch firm Mondial, it was bought by First Leisure for £750,000 and installed on Central Pier and opened in April 1990.

Over the past three decades it has been refitted and overhauled, including repainting and the installation of LED lights.

The last overhaul, in April 2017, cost £500,000 and came after the Sedgwick family bought all three piers two years earlier.

The new attraction will have accessible carriages that are wheelchair-friendly, VIP carriages, and carriages that are “partly enclosed to protect riders from the weather”.

The pier’s plans must also first navigate the council’s planning process.

If approved, the current wheel is likely to stop taking visitors on sky-high rides from the next of the 2022 summer season when the pier closes for winter.

It will then be dismantled and removed – with the new 50 metre/164ft wheel built in its place.

It will tower over £300m work on the Blackpool Central development – which will transform the site of the former Central railway station.

Earlier this month, the council approved a hybrid planning application which included outline permission to build three indoor theme parks, a 200-room hotel, plus bars, restaurants, and outdoor entertainment space.

Full permission was also granted to convert and upgrade buildings in Central Drive, including the King Edward cinema and pub.