A FERRIS wheel is set to be erected on Llandudno Pier as part of plans to “reinvent” the landmark as a night-time attraction and promote it around the UK.

The 69-foot wheel, which has been custom-made for the promenade to the tune of almost £1million, is expected to be opened before the weekend as work to assemble it got underway on Wednesday afternoon.

Pier owner Adam Williams commissioned Italian manufacturer Lamborghini to design the traditional wheel, which will have 18 gondolas carrying six people each, painted all-white and fitted with modern lighting that will make it highly visible after sunset.

Visitors will be able to enjoy 360 degree views of the town and its coastline during the day and into the night.

Mr Williams said he believes the wheel is a space-efficient way to turn the pier into a self-sustaining attraction.

“This is a new era for the pier,” he said. “It is the biggest single investment in the promenade since it was built.

“The aim is to create more of a nightlife in Llandudno and to extend the shoulders of the season.

“We do not need more visitors during the busy summer days, but the promenade gets very quiet at night and we can lose three or four hours of trade per night.

“If we can gain a few of those back with the wheel then that will help to support everything around it.

“Everyone knows the cost of maintaining a pier and supplies like wood and steel have gone through the roof, so we have got to keep ‘reinventing the wheel’ to keep it financially sustainable.

“I’m custodian of this pier and it is down to me to make sure it continues for the next century.”

It comes after a troubling lockdown period for Mr Williams in which the pier’s future was put in jeopardy due to the disappearance of income at its arcades, amusements and rides.

Mr Williams, whose family also owns Blackpool Pier, said the attraction would likely already be in place on the pier were it not for delays caused by the pandemic.

He said: “We have had plans for this for a long, lone time but it has been delayed over the last year.

“We had a look at everyone else’s piers and at what they do, and I’ve spoken with a lot of pier owners about how it had worked there. Everyone wants a view of a coastline.

“The wheel is also an effective way of using space on the pier, as it takes up a small footprint – most of the space being used is up in the air.

“Piers should change their activities every three to four years to continue to stay relevant – tourism is like fashion, and you have to change all the time.”

The wheel will replace old sheds and a shooting gallery, where simulator rides had been located before that.

During the winter months the wheel will be taken to cities and Christmas markets around the UK to promote Llandudno, with the hope of bringing more visitors to the town during the off-peak season.

Planning permission was not required for the structure due to it being below 25 metres, while the pier is already permitted for amusements.

There had been a lengthy design stage, which included a four-week process of ensuring the design met UK safety standards. There will also be a disabled carriage added to the wheel over the coming months.

“I chose Lamborghini as they are one of best manufacturers of wheels there is,” Mr Williams said. “They have been building wheels for around 100 years.

“The Lamborghini team have come over to show us how they designed the wheel and how to put it together and we expect to have it ready for the weekend.

“The Pier only shuts officially on Christmas Day, or when there is bad weather, but the wheel will stay until the tail end of this season when it will go on to do its winter job, before returning to make an appearance in Easter.”