Scotland set for “Edinburgh Eye” ferris wheel

A private firm wants to put a wheel similar to the London Eye in Edinburgh (Picture by Swgreed )

SCOTLAND is to get its own version of the London Eye, it has been revealed.

The Giant Ferris Wheel will be built in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens over the summer – but will stand for just five months.

The 60-metre tall structure will be roughly the height of the Scott Monument, and sit just yards from the National Galleries of Scotland.

It’s believed that Edinburgh City Council is at an advanced stage of talks with a private firm which wants to take on the project.

It’s hoped the structure will be in place by May and will give tourists a panoramic view of the capital until it is dismantled in October.

Council bosses estimate the wheel could generate an extra £1.4 million of revenue for the city during its operation.

Tickets for the attraction could cost as much as £8.50 but the project will not cost taxpayers a penny as all building and operating costs would be paid by Great City Attractions (GCA).

Steve Cardownie, the council’s deputy leader, said: “We are conducting negotiations with operators of a big wheel about potential sites in Edinburgh. We discussed sites like Leith but they felt there was not enough footfall there and that they needed a city centre site, as other sites they have in cities like Belfast and Cardiff are in the city centre.

“We did not think it would be appropriate to have it on the Princes Street Level so they agreed to site it down where the ice rink used to be, and I believe the National Galleries are excited about more people being down in that area.

“It does not take up much footprint and there will be a lot of landscaping work around it. It is a spectacular wheel and the booths are fully enclosed with their own speakers, so it becomes a proper experience.

“Of course, it will be thrilling to go up that high but the additional aspect of learning about the city will make it even better.”

In 2009 GCA, planned to build a much bigger Ferris wheel, up to 120 metres, in the capital but pulled out citing the council’s failure to take the tram line to Leith, claiming it would have a major impact on its financial viability.

Councillor Cardownie dismissed any fears about negative impacts the project might have.

He said: “I’m confident it won’t have a detrimental impact on views of the Castle because you’ll still be able to take photos from The Mound or Waverley Bridge, and people might even want to include the big wheel in their photos.”