Brighton Big Wheel

Construction is nearly complete on an eye-catching 170ft-high Ferris wheel in Brighton dubbed the seaside version of the London Eye.

The German-built Brighton Wheel is being located on the city's seafront, east of Brighton Pier, at a cost of £6 million.

When it is finished this autumn, it will feature 36 air-conditioned glass pods, each capable of holding up to six adults and two children.

Panoramic views across the English Channel and Brighton and Hove are being promised for the estimated 250,000 people who will use it each year.

It will operate all year round between 10am and 11pm peak season, with the wheel illuminated at night, and three complete revolutions will take up to 12 minutes.

Officials at Brighton and Hove City Council have given temporary planning permission for the wheel to run on the prime site until May 2016.

Developers are hoping the wheel will echo the success of the London Eye and generate a boost for local businesses during the quieter winter months.

A spokesman for the attraction said: "The Brighton Wheel is a hugely exciting attraction and will provide breathtaking views of the landscape, sea and beyond - a first for Brighton and Hove.''

Geoffrey Bowden, the city council's tourism spokesman, said the Brighton Wheel will be a "significant new addition'' to the skyline.

He said: "Not only will the new attraction create year-round employment, it will also give potential visitors another reason to come.''

But its impending arrival has faced objections, despite it creating 30 jobs.

Conservationists at the local Regency Society said it will have an overbearing appearance in a residential and conservation area.

Opponents also said the project could set a dangerous precedent which could allow large-scale attractions to encroach on the unspoiled beaches east of Brighton Pier.

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