IT’s the Southsea attraction that lasted just a few months... and now the Solent Wheel has a new home.
The much-talked about Clarence Pier ride has been carted off to Ireland.
...we have not finalised where it will be going next year, and would be happy to try again, to resolve the brent geese and business rating issues, before we make a final decision.Jill Norman
A row over the length of time the ride could be up in the year, sparked by concerns over the safety of Brent geese on their winter migration path, prompted bosses to pack it away.
And it’s now been revealed the wheel, bought at a cost of £750,000 from Italy, will go put up and enjoyed by guests outside England.
It comes despite rumours that the 110ft-wheel was set to appear at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland attraction in London for Christmas.
But Clarence Pier boss Jill Norman quashed that suggestion – and also said she hasn’t ruled out bringing the ride back to Southsea next year after all.
She said: ‘It is not going to Hyde Park, it has gone to Ireland.
‘As stated before we have no plans at present, to bring it back to Southsea for next summer.
‘However we have not finalised where it will be going the next year, and would be happy to try again, to resolve the Brent geese and business rating issues, before we make a final decision.
‘We believe that this is the only portable funfair ride in the UK that is presently rated.
‘We would just like to say thank you to the public. We have had a tremendous amount of support for it to stay in Southsea.
‘It is a shame that it is not up for the Great South Run, as the area of the common where the Brent geese land near the war memorial will be full of cars next weekend, which is staged during the geese migrating period from October to March.’
It comes after Natural England hit back at council claims it was forced to abide by planning guidance the body gave to ensure Brent geese would not be harmed.
Natural England said it only ever provides advice and was willing to work with the authority and the ride’s owners to ensure the attraction stayed.
Mrs Norman said: ‘I was interested to read that Natural England’s advice was only advisory after all.
‘I wonder what the consequences would have been if Portsmouth City Council had not taken their advice?’