Ryder Architecture has won permission for Europe’s tallest observation wheel in Newcastle
The city council granted the local practice planning consent for the leisure scheme - which will include a visitor centre and an entertainments hub - at Spillers Quay on the River Tyne.
At 140m-tall, the steel-framed Whey Aye Wheel will be slightly higher than the iconic London Eye and feature 60 cabins to take the public into the air.
The scheme, dubbed GIants on the Quayside, will also include creating a five-storey visitor centre to accommodate food, drink and merchandise outlets. A 686m² LED screen will be integrated into an external wall.
A three-storey Fun Warehouse will include virtual golf, climbing, gaming and roof-top pitches. Three further smaller buildings will be created for food and drink sales.
The 4ha site on the north bank of the Tyne has been used for industrial purposes since the 18th century. It is 200m from the Lower Ouseburn Conservation Area.
Objections to the Ryder proposals were forwarded by the Ouseburn Trust; the St Peter’s Neighbourhood Association; the nearby Reserve Forces and Cadets Association; Places for People and the Igloo regeneration fund, which is developing nearby sites; and five local councillors.
Concerns raised included impacts on traffic flow, residential amenity and ecology.
Historic England said it was worried about the effect the development would have on the setting of heritage assets, including the Grade I-listed St Nicholas’ Cathedral.
Planning officers said they had ‘some concern’ about the ‘design quality’ of the wheel, which they said did not meet the same standard as the London Eye.
But they added that the overall collection of buildings were ’well-designed’ and would ’add a real vibrancy to the area’.
Officers said that while ’the cumulative effect of the observation wheel proposed on multiple heritage assets must be recognised’, the level of public benefit was ‘sufficient to mitigate this harm’.
Similarly, the negative impact from the scheme on the amenity of residents in the St Peter’s district and properties to the east was not considered ’so significant as to warrant the application being refused’. Conditions could ensure transport impacts were not severe, added officers.
Ryder’s plans for Giants on the Quayside, Newcastle
They recommended approval for a period of 10 years to allow all impacts to be monitored. Councillors acted in line with this recommendation.
Ryder said its designs ’celebrate the Spillers site heritage and broader Tyneside context’.
The practice added: ’Proposed forms play with visions of spiral grain chutes, angular bins, conveyors and bridges, all collaged in a playful promenade composition leading towards the Whey Aye Wheel.’
Ryder partner Ian Kennedy said: ’The project focuses on the reuse of a prominent and significant brownfield site on the River Tyne. As a team, we sought to optimise the potential of the unique site while very much considering neighbours and residents. The design of the buildings – The Terminus, Fun Warehouse and the food and beverage units – recognises the industrial heritage and history of the site whilst producing a new space to be enjoyed by all. The wheel’s position above The Terminus building creates the tallest observation wheel in Europe.
’The experience of the spaces and activities is enhanced by the simple, contemporary and elegant design alongside soft landscaping which creates a variety of visitor spaces. This combines to create a family friendly visitor attraction that acknowledges the rich heritage of the location – exactly what the leisure, culture and tourism industry in the North East is all about.
’In summary, the design creates an iconic, inclusive and accessible venue which is exciting, sustainable and a great experience for all.’