The Birmingham Wheel could stay in Centenary Square into the spring and beyond if planning permission is granted.

The wheel has attracted huge crowds queuing to take a ride on the 60 metre observation wheel.

Great City Attractions is looking to extend its stay in the city centre and is seeking six months planning permission to take it up to June 2010.

Initially the wheel was only scheduled to stay until February, but now the company plans to keep it turning as long as people keep buying tickets.

Birmingham City Council’s planning committee is today (Thursday) set to grant the wheel a stay of up to six months and the company says it may come back for more if the attraction proves popular.

Spokesman Andy Millichamp said: “We would like to stay a lot longer than February and have asked for a further six months. We could possibly stay longer if Birmingham wants the wheel to stay.”

The wheel, sponsored by the Birmingham Mail, has been a popular tourist attraction in Birmingham in recent years, drawing in thousands of visitors who climbed into one of the 42 pods, known as gondolas for a spectacular aerial view of their city.

A report to the planning committee points out that the wheel is major attraction for Birmingham and provides evidence that big wheels have increased visitor numbers in Sheffield and York.

Planning officer Neal Allcock said: “The retention of the new wheel would provide an additional tourist attraction for the city within a central city space designed to accommodate such a structure.

“The wheel could draw visitors from further afield and help boost revenue for City Centre businesses in difficult economic circumstances.”

**** UPDATE:

Planning permission was granted for the Wheel to remain in place for a further six months by Birmingham City Council.

Great City Attractions spokesperson Andy Millichamp said: "GCA are looking forward to continuing the successful association with Birmingham City Council.

"The wheel has become a welcome addition to the Birmingham city skyline and is proving a huge hit with Birmingham resident's & visitors alike."