Evaluation Of The Importance Of Policies, Politics And The Involvement Of Local Interests In The Development Of The "London Eye", Uk.

1944 words - 8 pages

The London EyeThe London Eye was part of many of London's millennium projects. Like the Millennium Dome and the Millennium Bridge it was known then as the Millennium wheel.It is a joint project of British Airways, the Tussauds Group and the local architect firm Barfield Marks. The process of creating the final design, construction, assembly and operation had to be done in a time frame of 14 months as the Eye was to be opened on 1.January 2000. It is London's 4th tallest structure now and situated on the banks of the River Thames in the London Borough of Lambeth across from the houses of Parliament.The development and construction of the London Eye is a typical example of a boosterism approach as explained by Hall (1994). It is a very one-dimensional attitude that sees tourism as naturally good and it will automatically benefit the host community. Negative economic, environmental or social impacts are not considered. In this approach local residents or stakeholders are not involved in the policy process if they are opposed or not. There is almost no input by locals and they do not have any control of the plan. The opposite is the case. Objection towards the proposed plan is seen as unpatriotic as the project is seen as beneficial for the population as a whole and will raise the cities profile and image as a top destination (Hall, 1992).This "flagship" project has received a special status by the National Government as it was seen as a hallmark event in course of other millennium projects as a way to celebrate the new millennium. It presented the government with an opportunity to secure high prominence for London in the tourism market place.As Hall (1992) notes, hallmark events, like the celebration of the millennium, represent a key element in urban and regional tourism development and promotion strategies.Generally those events are associated with an immense extent of public expenditure but this was not necessarily the case in the development of the London Eye. Most of the funding came from British Airways and bank loans, the governments role was mainly to "pave the way" for the project to go ahead. Especially as the government and the developers were under an extreme time pressure to finish the project before the new millennium, a distinct "fast-track" development strategy was adopted. Central government had a significant influence on the local Lambeth Council in its decision to grant planning permission.Being London's tallest structure and basically the way it "appeared" within a few days the visual impact it had on the area was immense. For a few people it was an eyesore and described as "a disgrace to the parliament" (www.theguardian.co.uk 21.09.99).Even though the impacts for the local communities were set to be substantial the project was not subject to normal planning legislation and planning and community opposition were ignored. A few attempts by local activists who protested in opposition to the construction merely succeeded in slowing...

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