The final application (BH2011/00764) for a temporary observation wheel is due to come before the Planning Committee on Wednesday afternoon with a recommendation for approval. It would be situated 110 metres to the east of the Palace Pier almost directly opposite the bottom of Madeira Place. It is proposed to be 45 metres high with 36 dangling gondolas each carrying up to 8 people. Who can doubt that if Brighton is to have such an attraction there could not be a better site for it. Situated between the Volk's Railway and the Palace Pier, it serves to confine this type of attraction in one area; it is easily accessible; it is situated almost exactly half-way between the city's east and west borders, and thus in the optimum positon for viewing of the whole city; and it is surely the best site from purely aesthetic considerations.
The application is supported by the Conservation Advisory Group and 64 letters of support have been received by the planning department. There are 49 letters of objection, almost all coming from properties near the west end of Marine Parade. Surprisingly another objector is the Regency Society which appears to have forgotten, in this case, its current drive to widen its appeal in the city.
It is obvious that the nearer you live to any new development the more likely you are to find something to object about, but in this case the wheel will be separated from the nearest properties in Marine parade by two wide roads and the Aquarium terraces. The wheel is also further removed in that it is to be built on a platform projecting a further 13.4 metres out from the general south edge-line of the promenade. However this separation is not quite enough for the residents of the Van Alen apartments (the building seen on the right of the above drawing), 39 of whom have signed a petition against the wheel, citing overshadowing, overlooking, and loss of privacy. These are really quite spurious objections. By the time the sun gets low enough to cast a shadow of the wheel on the Van Alen it will be near sunset; 'overlooking' will only be a problem if the occupants of the gondolas have any interest at all in the Van Alen, which seems unlikely; and 'loss of privacy' must surely presuppose they are all carrying powerful telescopes.