The London Eye’s long-term future as a prominent part of the capital’s skyline has been given the green light

One of the UK’s most iconic visitor attractions – the lastminute.com London Eye – has had its long-term future secured, after Lambeth Council confirmed that it could remain on London’s South Bank.

At a meeting of the Council’s Planning Applications Committee on Tuesday 7th May, Lambeth councillors voted unanimously to support a recommendation from officers to discharge a condition attached to the 2003 permission that required the local planning authority to decide whether the attraction could be retained beyond 2028.

This followed the submission of a report by Merlin Entertainments – the UK-based owner and operator of the attraction – which assessed the continued acceptability of the Eye in this location.

The Council agreed with this report, and in doing so, confirmed that the Eye could remain in place – with current arrangements continuing beyond 2028. This includes a requirement for 1% of the attraction’s annual turnover to be paid towards the maintenance and management of the public area surrounding the site. These monies are invested in partnership with South Bank Employers’ Group and South Bank Business Improvement District.

“A landmark decision for a landmark attraction. The London Eye is both the centrepiece of Merlin’s central London offering and visitors’ itineraries, drawing millions to the South Bank each year to enjoy unrivalled views of the capital. It is impossible to imagine the London skyline without the iconic structure of the London Eye, and with its long-term future secure, we will continue to invest and expand Merlin’s presence in this great city, which is one of our key gateway clusters. We will work closely with key partners locally, including the re-elected Mayor Sadiq Khan, to further boost London’s attractiveness to both international and domestic visitors, offering them experiences that bring joy and everlasting memories.”

Scott O’Neil, Merlin’s Chief Executive Officer

“It was clear from the council meeting that there is strong and enthusiastic support for the Eye – and a recognition of the immensely positive contribution it makes to the vibrancy of this part of London and the businesses and communities it works with on a daily basis. When the Eye first opened at the turn of the century, no-one could have envisaged it would become synonymous with all that is great about our capital city. Following this decision by Lambeth Council, we can now confirm that this attraction will continue to play its part, long beyond 2028, in attracting visitors to the South Bank. We look forward to continuing to work constructively with others to further boost footfall in the surrounding area – whilst also ensuring that our contributions help make this area a safe, sustainable and welcoming place to visit.”

Sunny Jouhal, Merlin’s Divisional Director of Gateway UK

“We were pleased to offer our support for this decision. The London Eye not only dominates the skyline in this part of London, but also sits at the heart of the community we serve and represent. Local businesses value the presence of this major attraction on our doorstep, and there is no doubt that its retention will continue to generate substantial footfall for Waterloo and South Bank. It is good news that the immediate local area will continue to benefit from 1% of the Eye’s annual turnover being made available. This includes the reinstated Community Chest grants programme – and we look forward to seeing these monies invested through community groups, for the benefit of the local people they support.”

Cllr Sarina da Silva and Cllr Ibrahim Dogus, who represent the local area, Waterloo and South Bank, on Lambeth Council

Merlin’s comprehensive approach to the London Eye, from a development, heritage, and environmental perspective, has been co-ordinated by leading planning consultants Lichfields. This involvement stretches back to 1999. In 2003, the consultancy was successful in helping obtain planning permission and listed building consent for the Eye’s original retention. Lichfields has continued to work closely with Merlin to help secure the Eye’s permanent future.

Following the vote by the Planning Applications Committee, Lambeth Council will shortly issue a Decision Notice confirming this outcome.