SkyFlyer balloon attraction promises 360° views of the north of Wales
Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter
Plans have been lodged with Denbighshire council for the SkyFlyer balloon attraction on the former Rhyl Sun Centre site.
A viewing platform, slung 15m below the helium-filled balloon, will see passengers raised up almost twice as high as the town’s Sky Tower.
It is promising 360° views reaching from Moel Famau to the Great Orme in Llandudno – and all the way to Liverpool on a clear day – as it is winched upwards.
The attraction will be placed on a concrete slab on the land, belonging to the local authority’s arms-length company Denbighshire Leisure Ltd, and is expected to open next year.
Sean Taylor, owner and founder of Zip World, will operate the new ride under the name Skyscraper World Ltd.
It will be able to take passengers up to 125m (410ft), whatever the weather conditions, in its 5.3m (17ft) long gondola.
The balloon will be stationed next door to the Pavilion Theatre’s 1891 bar and restaurant with a meet and greet office and toilet block also being built on-site.
It would remain inflated apart from when storms are forecast, so the site will be surrounded by a 3m high green, chain-link fencing for security.
The company which created the SkyFlyer is owned by Swedish balloon adventurer Per Lindstrand.
The planning statement submitted with the application shows it will operate all year round, seven days a week from 8am to 10pm.
The £2M investment will create seven full-time, four part-time and five casual full-time (five months of the year) jobs.
A noise assessment ordered by planning officers and carried out by a consultant on behalf of the applicants showed “the level of noise generated by the site at the closest residential dwellings will result in a negligible noise impact”.
Noise will come from the winch, fans and gearbox which lets out the SkyFlyer and draws it back towards the ground.
The planning statement said: “The proposed development would be the only operational SkyFlyer balloon attraction in the world, providing a unique selling point opportunity for Rhyl.
“Sean Taylor is passionate about supporting and leaving a lasting legacy for local communities.
“Given Rhyl’s connection with one of two main air shows in Wales, which has grown since the first event in 2009 along the entire promenade, Sean sees Rhyl as a ‘sleeping giant’ with huge potential for the tourism sector in north Wales.”