A business leader and the mayor of a seaside town are pleased that a Ferris wheel, which proved a hit last summer, is set to become a permanent fixture.

Earlier this week, this newspaper reported how East Suffolk Council had given the go ahead for the 34.5-metre high tourist attraction to become a permanent seasonal feature on Felixstowe seafront after proving popular in 2023, when it contributed to a 20% increase in visitors to the town.

The decision will mean that Essex-based Observation Attractions Company, managed by Paul Hedges, will be able to operate the 24-gondola wheel - known as The View - between February and October on a grass patch between the promenade and Sea Road.

Ipswich Star: Paul Hedges applied to install the wheel on a permanent basisPaul Hedges applied to install the wheel on a permanent basis (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Reaction to the news has been positive, with the town's representatives saying the wheel will add to the tourist facilities on offer.

Mayor Seamus Bennett said: "I'm pleased that the Ferris wheel is returning this year for the summer season on a permanent basis.

"It was a great success last year and will add greatly to Felixstowe's growing tourist offer.

"I'm also pleased that the owners have installed electric power so the wheel runs without polluting our precious sea air."

Ipswich Star: Mayor Seamus Bennett was delighted by the newsMayor Seamus Bennett was delighted by the news (Image: Charlotte Bond)

READ MORE: Felixstowe Ferris wheel plans head to East Suffolk Council

Kate Cain, manager of Felixstowe Business Improvement District, which represents traders in the town, welcomed the approval of the wheel – which she said deserved "some credit" for driving a "massive increase in footfall last summer".

She said: "We are delighted by East Suffolk Council’s decision to welcome the Ferris wheel back this season.

"The 114ft structure dominated the skyline along the prom, south of the pier, last year and became a regular sight on social media.

READ MORE: Our review of Felixstowe seafront's new 34.5m Ferris Wheel

Ipswich Star: The Ferris wheel proved popular with visitorsThe Ferris wheel proved popular with visitors (Image: Charlotte Bond)"We saw a massive increase in footfall last summer and the wheel deserves some credit for this, along with the attractions of Beach Street, Love Felixstowe Festival, the Tour of Britain, as well as our unique town centre.

"This summer, we hope to welcome as many visitors back as possible as well as attracting new ones.

"There’s a lot going on at our south beach leisure areas with exciting new ventures, plus plans with East Suffolk Council to enhance the area in the near future.

"The wheel is just the start and a sign of how Felixstowe is growing."

There was a slight reduction to the wheel’s operating times to accommodate concerns over amenity, meaning it will be open Monday to Thursday between 10am and 9pm and Friday to Sunday between 10am and 10pm.