Architect Marks Barfield, the designer that shot to fame with the London Eye, is working on a cheaper variant that could be sold across the world.
The structure will not be a wheel, but a 100 m observation tower. It will play the same role in the cityscape as the London Eye but at a cost of £20m rather than £100m.

Designs are in the concept stage, but Marks Barfield wants people to enter the structure via a bridge at the base of the tower. Visitors would then step into a transparent revolving capsule, which would slowly rise to the top of the tower to provide panoramic views.

The revolving capsule would be able to hold approximately 70 people. The firm intends the design to be a template for towers throughout the world. It is in talks with a client in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that has expressed interest.

This design would enable visitors to see all around the city and across the Red Sea. It could be linked to other tourist attractions.

The thinking behind the revised designs lies in the high cost of building and running attractions on the scale of the wheel. The London Eye cost £100m to build and requires 2 million visitors each year to be financially viable.

Marks Barfield partner David Marks confirmed that the firm was working on initial designs for a tower. He said it was critical for such a project to attract sufficient tourists each year.

He said: "In some places there is a doubt that they can pull in 2 million visitors a year. They have to do it every year."

The London Eye has attracted interest from many other cities including Shanghai, New York, Singapore, Sydney and Las Vegas.

The site of the Singapore Wheel, which is reported to have a diameter of 201 m, 50% more than the London Eye, is understood to have moved its site from the waterfront in the centre of the city to the suburbs.