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Is Blackpool killing off its super-casino bid with a big wheel?

Eyebrows have been raised over new plans for a new London Eye-style wheel in Blackpool - on the site of the town's proposed super-casino.

The move, which could see a 60m-high attraction built on part of the central car park plot, has sparked speculation that the seaside resort has lost interest in building the Gensler-designed casino (pictured), at least in its current form.

A planning application by Dreamstorm Attractions for a massive, 42-pod Big Wheel was received by Blackpool Council on Tuesday (1 May).

Yet sources within the authority have said the new attraction will not get in the way of the town's ongoing bid to build a huge Las Vegas-style super-casino, claiming the structure will only occupy part of the vast site and has only been submitted for temporary approval.

However, Marks Barfield's Wheel on London's South Bank was only originally intended to stay open for five years, but has now become a permanent feature on the capital's skyline.

The Big Wheel application is the latest twist in an increasingly lengthy saga surrounding Blackpool's super-casino bid. Earlier this year it seemed the town had blown its chances when Manchester was surprisingly given the nod as the site of the country's first gambling Mecca.

But in March Blackpool's bid seemed to be back on after the House of Lords rejected Tessa Jowell's recommendations to approve Manchester's casino bid.

by Richard Waite

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