York's big wheel plans scrapped over bat survey

Yorkshire Wheel Plans for the Yorkshire Wheel have been withdrawn following a bat scoping survey report

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Plans for a 60 metre high wheel in York have been withdrawn the day before they were due before a planning committee due to fears for the area's bats.

The York Museums Trust and Great City Attractions submitted plans for a big wheel on derelict land behind the city's art gallery.

But they were withdrawn after a bat scoping survey revealed "uncertainties surrounding the status of bats".

City of York Council was due to consider the application on Thursday.

Summer roosts

Mike Slater, from the council, said: "York Museums Trust has withdrawn its planning and related applications, which were due to be considered at tomorrow's planning committee meeting.

"The York Museums Trust recently received a 'bat scoping survey report' from their ecologist.

"The report states that 'in view of the uncertainties surrounding the status of bats using the site, it is strongly recommended that bat activity surveys and remote recording of bat activity is carried out after mid-May'."

It said the surveys could not be undertaken prior to May because bats were in hibernation and away from their summer roosts.

Janet Barnes, chief executive of York Museums Trust, said: "We are very disappointed having to withdraw the application at this late stage, however we understand entirely the need for a full bat survey.

Gallery revamp

"We will take time to consider the best way forward over the next few days."

It was hoped the plans would be approved and the wheel put in place this year providing profits for the museums trust and a planned £6m revamp of the art gallery.

The city council had previously rejected plans for a tourist wheel on other sites in the city, saying such an attraction had to be sited "sensitively" so as not to "threaten the city's visual heritage".

Between 2006 and 2008 the Yorkshire Wheel at York's National Railway Museum attracted 1.2 million visitors before it was dismantled.

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