A NEW attraction is finally due to arrive at Dawlish Warren, six years after it was first suggested. 

A 34m observation wheel will be erected on the Teignbridge Council-owned grassy area of Beach Walk. 

Once up and running, it will provide views from the top  of the wheel across the Warren and its nature reserve, the Exe estuary and further afield. 

It has taken a long time to get from the initial plans made in 2018 to taking its first passengers. 

The wheel has been given planning permission for six months over the summer season this year while its potential impact on biodiversity and the Exe estuary is assessed and reviewed. 

It will provide 108 seats for visitors seated in 18 gondolas.

The wheel is being transported in small sections underneath the Dawlish Warren railway bridge.

It will be installed on site starting on Monday and then will open to its first members of the public the following week. 

Plans were first submitted in 2018 after the owner of the adjacent amusement park was approached by Teignbridge Council to see if he would be willing to operate an observation wheel. 

Similar wheels are now synonymous with other holidays resorts such as in nearby Torquay and across the estuary in Exmouth. 

The idea was suggested as it was considered to provide an added attraction to the current promenade, beach, amusements and food and retail units. 

Concerns were raised that the wheel would attract more visitors to the area which could harm the Warren, an internationally recognised important wildlife habitat. 

Concern was also raised about the impact of views from Mashed House and Powderham Castle but this was thought to be minimal. 

The wheel will be silent running and is more of a leisurely experience for visitors rather than a ‘thrill’ attraction. 

When the application was first submitted, it attracted some support with regular visitors describing it as a ‘great idea’ and was good to see local individuals willing to invest in the area. 

Younger people considered it a good addition to the Warren.

But there were some concerns from objectors saying it was out of keeping and would be an eyesore. 

Dawlish Town Council initially objected to the plans on the grounds it could cause disruption to residents and wildlife, suggesting a temporary seasonal wheel was more appropriate for the location.

This is what is now in place.

Natural England were consulted on the plans and agreed that a temporary development on the site would not have an ‘adverse effect on the integrity’ of the Exe Estuary and Dawlish Warren sites.

The applicants had pointed out that this kind of wheel had been seen in family holiday resorts for more than 100 years. 

The design and colouring of the observation wheel is to make it visually un-obtrusive, that aside, all major seaside resorts as well as London have embraced these as a key attraction to further enhance their resorts.