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WOW - Worthing Observation Wheel: Frequently Asked Questions

See also WOW press releases:

Worthing WOW - large

Why WOW?

WOW stands for Worthing Observation Wheel and also accurately describes our newest seafront attraction!

Video: WOW! Largest Observation Wheel on the south coast coming to Worthing

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Who is running WOW?

WOW is being constructed and operated by a private company, de Koning Leisure Ltd. Worthing Borough Council's involvement extends to providing the land, monitoring overall activity and working on joint promotions via Discover Worthing.

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How did WOW happen?

Worthing Borough Council piloted an Observation Wheel in 2018.

Due to the wheel's success and a positive public response, the Council openly tendered the opportunity for a more permanent fixture.

de Koning Leisure Ltd responded and were successful in securing the project. They secured planning permission on 27th March 2019.

Photo: The pilot Worthing Wheel in its former position in Steyne Gardens in 2018

PR18-225 - The Worthing Wheel in its former position in Steyne Gardens

See also: 

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When does the build start?

The build started in May 2019.

Building works will be allowed from Monday to Saturday, between 8am and 6pm.

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How long will it take to build?

The total build will take approximately two months. This is split between foundation works and construction works.

In future years this time will be reduced down to two weeks only as no further foundation works will be necessary.

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What happens during the foundation works?

Six concrete foundation piles will be excavated to provide the wheel with a fully supportive base (much like the piles you see on the Lido).

These piles will not be visible as they sit within the foreshore bedrock and are covered by beach shingle.

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Will the foundation works be noisy?

The noise from the piling will be from the engines which drive the mobile Auger which drills the bedrock and pumps the concrete. The actual piling work (of 24 auger drilled piles) will take approximately 7 to 10 days.

All construction will be undertaken in accordance with BS5228:2009 'Code of Practice for noise and vibration control on construction and open sites.'

This is the standard guidance which the operator's contractor (Thorne) has to comply with during the works.

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What happens after the foundation works?

There will be a period of time of limited activity. This period relates to the setting of the concrete piles, in readiness for the construction of the WOW on the foundations.

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When will we see the Wheel being built?

The wheel will be assembled and lifted into place during two weeks after the Children's Parade and Race for Life.

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Will the promenade be open to pedestrians and cyclists during the foundation and construction phases?

The promenade will be open as usual during the foundation works (May/June 2019).

While the wheel is being constructed the promenade will be restricted down to 1.5m for approximately two weeks. There will be a well signposted pedestrian access route via an existing footpath to the north of the promenade. The footpath has ramped access at either end. We would ask that cyclists dismount at the point at which the promenade has restricted width.

For one day the promenade will be closed entirely (with the exception of the pedestrian route). This is to allow the two cranes to lift the wheel structure into place.

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How do they get the Wheel onto the seafront?

The wheel will be transported on eight articulated lorries. Joining Worthing promenade at the gated entrance opposite Heene Road the lorries, travelling in pairs, will be escorted down the promenade by the Council's foreshore team, along a designated access route.

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How do you know that the base and the wheel are strong enough to withstand the elements?

The technical drawings of the piling design and structure have been informed and tested by a team of expert structural engineers.

Both the technical drawings and the mathematics supporting the design have been rigorously inspected and verified by independent structural engineers, HOP Associates, acting on behalf of Worthing Borough Council.

The final part of this engineering assessment will be a pre-use inspection and initial test onsite before the WOW is signed off for operation.

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When will it be open to the public?

We expect the WOW to be open to the public in July 2019.

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What will be left on the promenade during the off season?

When the wheel and base is removed at the end of each Summer/Autumn season the foreshore shingle will be used to cover over the concrete pile caps. The promenade and beach will be returned to how it looks ordinarily, prior to the wheel arriving.

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Is this the same Wheel that was in Brighton?

No, the WOW has been specifically made for Worthing seafront.

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Who built the WOW?

The wheel was built in the Netherlands by observation wheel specialists, Lamberink. The WOW will be shipped to Dover on eight articulated lorries. Lamberink observation wheels are built according to the European and British Standard EN13814.

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Just how big is the WOW?

The wheel is 46 meters high. It is the highest observation wheel to be placed in South East England.

See also: What will the WOW look like?

Photo: A similar wheel to the one coming to Worthing seafront 
Note: the WOW will be all white

PR18-225 - A similar wheel to the one coming to Worthing seafront

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Will the WOW be noisy?

No, Lamberink wheels are remarkably quiet. The wheel is powered by electricity and is no louder than that of an electric car driving along a road.

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What will the WOW look like?

The WOW is a beautiful, elegant structure. It is entirely white with 36 white 'pods'. The pods feature clear glass and are entirely enclosed. Only white lights are used on the wheel and these do not flash. During the evening, when the wheel is partially illuminated, the illuminance level either horizontally or vertically down to the promenade is fixed at less than 10 lux. By way of example a street light used for area populated by cyclists and/or pedestrians (such as Worthing promenade) may be anything from 12 to 7.5 lux.

See also: Just how big is the WOW?

Photo: A similar wheel to the one coming to Worthing seafront. Note the WOW will be all white

PR18-225 - A similar wheel to the one coming to Worthing seafront 1

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How do I buy tickets?

Tickets are available at the WOW.

No advance or online booking - just turn up and ride.

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How much are tickets?

Tickets prices are:

  • £7 for adults
  • £5 for children under 1.4m
  • children under 2 are free
  • A family of four ticket is great value at £20

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Is the WOW wheelchair accessible?

Yes, one of the pods features flat access with room for one wheelchair user and three seated passengers.

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What are the opening hours?

The wheel will be open 7 days a week from 10am and no later than 10pm.

See also: What will be left on the promenade during the off season?

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How far can you see from the top?

On a clear day up to 10 miles in all directions.

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How long is the wheel staying in Worthing?

The WOW will be with us until 1st October each year. However, should the weather be kind the operators may keep the wheel in-situ until 8th November.

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Will the WOW be back every year?

The wheel operators have a lease agreement for a three year residency, operating from 1st April to 1st October (or 8th November as a maximum stay) each year.

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What happens if its very windy or rainy? Will the WOW close?

The WOW has strict manufacturer's guidelines within which it is allowed to operate. These include maximum wind speeds.

The WOW will stop operating should the foreshore experience constant wind speeds of 33mph (Beaufort Scale 7). Anything over this wind speed then some of the gondolas are removed to decrease the wind resistance to the structure.

If the wind speeds reach 68.2mph (Beaufort Scale 11) then twelve or more gondolas are placed on the base of the wheel.

By way of comparison wind speeds in excess of 47mph (Beaufort Scale 9) require Worthing Pier to close to the public.

In practise Wheel operators halt operation at considerably low wind speeds than the manufacturer’s guidelines.

At all times Council's Foreshore Inspector has the authority to ask for the WOW to stop operating.

Rain does not affect the operation of the wheel, but may restrict visibility.

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What is the cost to the Council?

The cost to the council is minimal as the land is leased to the wheel operator and owner de Koning Leisure Group Ltd.

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For further information ...

For information relating to noise problems, including an online form to report noise nuisance, please see the Council's noise help page.

Worthing WOW - large

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