Council urged to approve wheel

  • 5 April, 2021
  • On the pier
  • Rides activities


The owners of Clacton Pier have urged Tendring Council
to give the go ahead to their plans for an observation wheel.

They feel the new attraction will provide a valuable addition
to the community as well as help protect the future viability of the
150-year-old heritage asset.

And they made it clear that they have not opposed the wheel
at the nearby Clacton Pavilion, which they believe will also boost the town’s
tourism economy.

Managing director Billy Ball claims that the Pier’s project
is vital to its ongoing sustainability and will provide further investment in
the 6.5acre site.

He said he has put forward a strong case to support
the application for the wheel which is due to be decided by the council.

“The Pier has continuously evolved and developed
throughout the decades as an amusement and entertainment venue,” added Mr Ball.
“The current application seeks to continue this trend for what is the largest Pier
in Europe.

“The size and scale of the Pier is both its biggest
opportunity and its biggest burden. Modern day maintenance costs are not
commensurate with the level of income that is readily achievable, so continual
investment in new attractions which increase revenue is key to fighting these
rising costs.”

Mr Ball said that when he and his brother, Elliot, bought
the attraction in 2009 it was in a very precarious state of repair. They soon
realised it would be necessary to plough significant money into the site to
attract the visitors who would provide that income.

“It has enabled us to further invest in areas which
have suffered from decades of neglect and our annual footfall has grown to
almost one million people a year,” he added.

“We directly employ almost 200 staff during the peak
summer months, with a full-time team in excess of 75, making us a significant employer
in the district.”

Mr Ball emphasised that investment must continue, and
the offer improved to ensure the Pier remains for future generations. He feels
the proposed wheel will be another step towards achieving that goal.

“The income derived will also contribute towards recovery
from the economic damage caused by Covid 19 in what is a critical year for British
seaside resorts and Clacton Pier.”

Mr Ball said that observation wheels appeal to all age
groups and are one of the few attractions enjoyed by children, parents,
grandparents and even great grandparents alike.

He added the wheel, like the rest of the pier, will be
a focal point for community events.

“Alongside our free community fireworks displays,
charitable works and events, fundraising efforts and the hundreds of free days out
we give away to good causes each year, it will provide further opportunity for
this kind of activity,” said Mr Ball. “As directors and owners, we feel a huge
responsibility towards the Pier and the community it serves.”

Mr Ball said the Pier has no objection to the Pavilion’s
wheel as competition is healthy and stimulates the drive and ambition of
operators to achieve even higher standards – which is good for the town.

“All and any investment in Clacton’s tourism sector is
most welcome and has to be encouraged and embraced – even if it means two
wheels,” he added. “It will require that continued investment to keep our vital
attractions alive.”


Tickets Book Now