Plans will be submitted today (Monday, December 10) to Lambeth Borough Council for the British Airways London Eye to become a permanent feature on the capital’s skyline.
Since it opened in March 2000, the 450ft high Eye has exceeded all visitor projections and become the top paid-for attraction in the UK. It has attracted seven million visitors and become a symbol for London worldwide.
“Few people could have predicted the enormous success of the London Eye. It has transformed the London skyline and played an important economic role in regenerating the South Bank and in maintaining tourism for London - even in these difficult times,” said David Marks, of Marks Barfield Architects, originators and designers of the London Eye.
“There is now clear evidence from Londoners, visitors and tourists for the Eye to have a permanent home,” he added.
Tourism is the second largest and fastest growing industry in London, and generated over £8 billion for the capital in 2000. It is estimated the Eye contributes approximately 1.5 per cent to London’s tourism earnings.
Thirty one new businesses have opened locally, with hundreds of jobs being created directly and indirectly. Despite foot and mouth, and the recent terrorist attacks on the US, it continues to attract record visitor numbers.
Planning approval will release investment for the improvement of the attraction and local facilities, and help other businesses plan for the future.
Lambeth Borough Council has already asked local people and businesses about the Eye’s future as part of their Unitary Development Plan consultation. Recent surveys have shown there is overwhelming support for the Eye to become permanent.
The Eye was initially granted temporary planning permission for five years. The application has been made now because the planning process can often take several years.