Wheel they or won’t they?

There are plans afoot to have a Big Wheel in Norwich. Like the London Eye, but much smaller, and instead of panoramic views of the Thames and our capital city’s great buildings from above, the sightlines will be blocked by the Forum (the grandiose name for the library), St Peter Mancroft Church and City Hall. All fine buildings of course, but you can see them from the ground. It would only be for a few minutes halfway through the ride that you could actually see the view. And the tops of the aforementioned fine buildings.

There are so many flaws in the plan that it surely will not go ahead. It’s a busy area already and a popular meeting place. Once most of it is taken up by a wheel, it’s not easy to see where the queues of happy holidaymakers, who don’t yet know they are in for an anticlimax, will wait.

One wonders why it was even suggested. It so often seems to be the way. Instead of looking for flaws in an idea, amending plans and coming up with a coherent strategy to put forward, councils (and the government, come to that) rush forward with the first half-baked plan that has been suggested and wait for the general public to point out that it won’t work.

In fact, the idea of a wheel has gone down quite well, if it were put in a suitable location. What the locals do is go to the top of a multi-storey car park and gaze out admiringly at the array of churches scattered across the city, but you can hardly expect that to be advertised in the tourist brochures. It would seem unsophisticated and disorganised, and we already have Norfolk’s ‘system’ of main roads to display those qualities.

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