Weymouth Olympic sailing observation tower approved

The viewing tower would include a rotating pod that could hold 50 people

Plans to build a £3m viewing tower at Weymouth seafront in Dorset in time for next year's Olympic sailing events have been given the go-ahead by councillors.

The 173ft (53m) structure at the top of Festival Pier will include a rotating pod that could hold 50 people.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council approved the plans, with conditions, at a meeting earlier.

Merlin Entertainments, which submitted the application, said work was expected to begin on the attraction in November.

General manager Craig Dunkley said: "This is great news. We believe that the tower will be a must do attraction in Weymouth.

"The 360˚ panoramic views it will provide will be magnificent and leave lasting memories of Weymouth for everyone who visits.

London 2012 - Begin your journey here

London view

"We are also confident that it will prove an economic catalyst, helping to keep people in the town longer, and benefiting many other businesses."

A number of residents lodged objections with the council, with several claiming it would damage views.

Merlin Entertainments, the firm behind the plans, said feedback had been "very positive" but it vowed to address concerns raised by some residents.

It said many people felt the structure would improve the area and boost the reputation of Weymouth.

But it admitted others raised concerns on issues including pricing, parking, flooding and the tower's design.

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