City wheel and viewing platform approved for Southend seafront

Adventure Island on Southend seafront has been given the green light to build a huge new viewing platform – set to tower above the already-installed City Wheel.

Southend Council’s development control committee gave the new attraction approval on Wednesday night, as well as granting retrospective planning permission for the 36-metre tall City Wheel.

The 40-metre tall viewing platform is set to be installed next year, bosses at the seafront attraction revealed last week.

Despite not having planning permission, the City Wheel was installed at the amusement park in December.

Speaking at the committee meeting, councillor Matt Dent questioned how Adventure Island – owned by Philip Miller and his Stockvale Group – had been allowed to operate without planning permission.

He said: “Philip Miller is quite experienced with these such applications. He has quite a number of rides that have presumably been through this process before.

“Is there a particular reason why this is coming to us as retrospective and Stockvale didn’t seek permission before putting the wheel up?”

Cllr Dent was told it was entirely up to developers whether they seek planning permission before they carry out development.

If they go ahead without approval, then it is at the developer’s own risk as it could be subsequently refused.

Stephen Habermel, councillor for Chalkwell ward, said he was concerned Southend Airport said in a report to the committee that the development would conflict safeguarding criteria if conditions were not imposed.

He was assured lighting conditions were in place and barred the use of any lasers or upward pointing lights.

Preparation for the installation of the wheel has included an extensive, year-long ornithological survey and habitat regulation given the sensitivities of the nearby foreshore.

The application had drawn some criticism from residents who said the height of the attractions were excessive and “impacted on views”.

There were also concerns about light pollution and lack of consultation with residents in the wider area.

However, councillors were unanimous in granting approval

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter