Looking to make a big comeback after a year of closures, Clacton Pier managing director Billy Ball has urged the local council to approve plans for his new big wheel attraction, with the operator not discouraged by neighbouring Clacton Pavilion plans for a big wheel of its own.
The owners of Clacton Pier have urged Tendring Council to give the go ahead to their plans for an observation wheel.
Managing director Billy Ball says the new attraction will provide a valuable addition to the community as well as help protect the future viability of the 150- year-old heritage asset. He is also not opposed to the wheel at the nearby Clacton Pavilion, which he believes will also boost the town’s tourism economy.
“The Pier has continuously evolved and developed throughout the decades as an amusement and entertainment venue,” said Ball. “The current application seeks to continue this trend for what is the largest Pier in Europe.
“The size and scale of the Pier is both its biggest opportunity and its biggest burden. Modern day maintenance costs are not commensurate with the level of income that is readily achievable, so continual investment in new attractions which increase revenue is key to fighting these rising costs.”
Billy Ball feels the proposed wheel will be another important step towards staying ahead of costs and keeping the pier available for families, communities, and the younger generation.
“The income derived will also contribute towards recovery from the economic damage caused by Covid 19 in what is a critical year for British seaside resorts and Clacton Pier,” he continued. “Alongside our free community fireworks displays, charitable works and events, fundraising efforts and the hundreds of free days out we give away to good causes each year, it will provide further opportunity for this kind of activity.”
Ball said the Pier has no objection to the Pavilion’s wheel as competition is healthy and stimulates the drive and ambition of operators to achieve even higher standards – all of which is good for the town.
“All and any investment in Clacton’s tourism sector is most welcome and has to be encouraged and embraced – even if it means two wheels,” he added. “It will require that continued investment to keep our vital attractions alive.”