Scheme has suffered repeated delays with Covid previously cited

Work to build Europe’s tallest observation wheel in Newcastle have been stalled again, with developers now citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the latest delay.

The so-called Whey Aye Wheel, planned for the city’s Quayside, was approved nearly three years ago but the £100m development has been met with continued setbacks.

After initial delays blamed on covid-19, Hong Kong developer World Wheel Company announced last summer that work would begin at the end of 2021.


The so-called Whey Aye Wheel will be 5m taller than the London Eye. It was originally supposed to open next year

The company now says it is working towards starting work on the wheel – a as well as the wider Giants on the Quayside leisure development – “this year”, citing the ongoing war in Ukraine as the reason for the fresh hiccup.

Chief executive Phil Lynagh said the war’s impact on global capital markets had hit deadlines but said the firm’s funding partners remained “fully committed” to the project.

“We have taken advantage of the delays to increase our focus on utilising new construction methodologies and materials which are allowed within the current planning agreements,” he added.

“Doing so has allowed us to investigate how we can further improve the delivery of our Giants on the Quayside development in terms of its overall sustainability.

“This will ensure we deliver an enhanced development for the city, its people and the millions of visitors who will come and enjoy Giants on the Quayside during its successful operation.”

The project’s design team includes structural and civil engineering consultants Studio Horn, M&E consultants B&W Engineering and geotechnical and environmental consultants Golder. T&T is cost consultant on the scheme although no formal announcement has been made about a contractor.

As well as its 460ft observation wheel, the Ryder Architecture-designed development on the site of the demolished Spillers Mill will feature a 39ft human-shaped statue called The Geordie Giant and a family entertainment centre, featuring trampolines, climbing walls and play areas.

An 8,000 sq m ‘Giant’s Atrium’ will accommodate cafes and bars, as well as providing an entry and exit points to the wheel.