Whey Aye: Europe's tallest observation wheel approved for Newcastle Quayside

Plans to build Europe’s tallest observation wheel in Newcastle, UK, have been given the green light by the city council.

The 140m-tall Whey Aye – named after a popular phrase in the local dialect pronounced 'why eye', meaning 'yes' – is being developed by the World Wheel Company and is set to stand five metres taller than The London Eye.

Designed by Concept I, the wheel will be built at on Spillers Wharf, on the river Tyne.

It will form the centrepiece of The Giants on the Quayside development, which will include a family entertainment centre filled with trampolines, climbing walls, a skywalk and separate café.

A ‘Giant Sport Deck’ will also be built, featuring a multi-purpose play and sports complex, with covered five-a-side pitches and tennis courts available for public hire, as well as a virtual golf club called The Quayside Golf Club.

Phase one of the development will include an 837 sq yd (700 sq m) LED digital screen on the facade of the visitor centre, at the base of The Whey Aye, which will be used to communicate information about local culture and events as well as social media content and advertising.

Newcastle City Council’s planning committee granted the wheel and the associated buildings planning permission on 26 July – subject to conditions being met. A decision on the LED screen has been deferred to a future planning meeting.

“The idea of one of the world’s biggest observational wheels operating here in Newcastle has captured a lot of people’s imaginations," said Ged Bell, the council’s cabinet member for employment and investment.

“The development has the potential to be a real game-changer, creating hundreds of jobs for local residents and attracting thousands of new visitors, which can only be good for shops, restaurants, cafes and local businesses.

“I am delighted that the planning committee has approved these exciting plans and I look forward to seeing this derelict site coming back to life over the coming months.”

The entire Giants on the Quayside development will cover 344,500 sq ft (32,000 sq m) in total and is expected to take 18 to 24 months to build.

“We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to our plans so far and hope this latest announcement will whet people’s appetites even further," said Phil Lynagh, chief executive officer of World Wheel Company.

World Wheel Company has previously designed and built giant observation wheels in Suzhou, China and Tbilisi, Georgia.

Whey Aye  Newcastle  World Wheel Company 
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Company profile: Willmott Dixon
Willmott Dixon delivers the social infrastructure that people depend on in their daily lives. We partner with our customers to focus on the services they want to provide, not just the building we construct, and we are committed to achieving a higher social purpose through our work.
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