By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter
The London Eye could disappear from the capital’s skyline for ever in a few years if its lease is not renewed.
The UK’s largest ferris wheel could be removed from its South Bank home by 2028, unless it gets permission to stay.
The Millennium Wheel, as it was originally known, opened to the UK public in March 2000. The Ferris wheel originally had a temporary five year lease, which was then extended.
The London Eye’s lease runs out in 2028. If it is not renewed by Lambeth council, the wheel could vanish from the capital’s skyline for good.
Merlin Entertainments, the wheel’s owner, now intends to ask permission from the council to keep the Eye on the South Bank permanently.
Mike Vallis, from Merlin Entertainments, said: “The London Eye is a UK success story with a global reach.
“When it first opened at the turn of the century, no-one could have envisaged it would become synonymous with all that is great about our capital city.
“As the capital’s most visited paid for attraction, it continues to be enjoyed by millions of guests every year, it is now time for us to secure its long-term future through this application to Lambeth council.”
The London Eye was officially opened by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on New Year’s Eve in 1999, but it only started welcoming paying passengers a few months later.
It cost £70 million to build and today welcomes about three million passengers every year.
Merlin Entertainments is yet to apply to the council for a permanent lease for the wheel, but is expected to do so in spring next year.
Pictured top: The London Eye (Picture: PA)