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Merlin plans to make London Eye a permanent fixture


Merlin Entertainments has confirmed it is taking steps to secure a permanent future for the iconic London Eye.

Created as part of the millennium celebrations more than 20 years ago, the 135m-tall observation wheel opened to passengers in 2000 and has since become one of the UK’s most popular paid-for visitor attractions.

Its planning permission, however, includes a condition which requires the local planning authority to decide whether the attraction can be retained beyond 2028.

Merlin, which operates the attraction, is now seeking to discharge the planning condition to enable the Eye to be kept in place permanently.

According to Mike Vallis, Merlin’s divisional director for midway attractions, the company is aiming to remove the clause through a forthcoming application to Lambeth Council, the local planning authority.

“The London Eye is a UK success story with a global reach,” Vallis said.

"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.

“Over the summer, we have seen a significant (post-pandemic) return of international visitors, set to rise further over the coming years.

“The London Eye remains one of the top “go to” destinations for those visiting the UK, as these holidaymakers come to enjoy the pods’ unrivalled views of the capital.”

Merlin is currently engaged in pre-application discussions with Lambeth Council and will be submitting a discharge of condition application in spring 2023.

The Council will then assess the continued acceptability of the London Eye in this location.

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