Birmingham & Black Country

Dudley Eye: Council leader defends town's big wheel

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Media captionThe Ferris wheel in Dudley town centre has attracted criticism because of its views of factories and concrete buildings.

A council leader has defended a 115ft big wheel known as the Dudley Eye after it was branded "the worst tourist attraction in the UK".

The ride in Dudley town centre has attracted criticism because of its views of factories and car parks.

But Dudley Council leader Pete Lowe branded the claims "absolute nonsense".

"It shows the regeneration of the town. You can also see things that forged the whole of the Industrial Revolution here in Dudley," he said.

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The DY Eye ride was launched on Saturday and costs £4.50. It will be in Stone Street Square for a month.

But Twitter users and some national newspapers have poured scorn on the attraction.

David Hales tweeted: "They've got a Dudley Eye. I nearly spat my coffee out when I heard that earlier."

Adam Dugmore wrote: "If they think Dudley will be "put back on the map" with the appearance of a ferris wheel they are terribly wrong."

Councillor Lowe insisted the people of Dudley did not think it was a joke - and that views of Dudley Castle, Birmingham and the Malvern Hills had gone down well.

Image copyright Andy Mullaney
Image caption The ferris wheel offers views of the Black Country, Birmingham and the Malvern Hills 40 miles away

"We had to start the official opening 90 minutes early on Saturday because there were queues of people," he said.

"We want to promote the history of Dudley but also show that it has an important present and future.

"It's always the same - we always just put a smile on our face here in the Black Country.

"Let the moaners moan about us."

Andy Mullaney, Dudley's first "business connector" from the Business in the Community charity, said: "If this wheel was in Brixton it would have been branded as "community inclusive".

"Dudley Council is really trying to do different things and it's one of a number of initiatives taking place to bring people into the town."

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