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Exclusive: Arena loses £50,000 after Wheel of Liverpool ‘crash’

Firm went under owing almost £1m; lack of off-peak customers blamed

Published on February 24th 2011.

Exclusive: Arena loses £50,000 after Wheel of Liverpool ‘crash’

THE company that operates the big wheel in Liverpool owed the Liverpool Arena and Convention Centre almost £50,000 when it went into administration.

A newly-filed report from administrators at Begbies Traynor show that WTA Global Holdings Ltd ran up several Liverpool-based creditors before its collapse.

The firm owed Arena & Convention Centre Liverpool £48,000. The wheel sits just next to the Arena on Kings Dock.

Other Liverpool firms owed money by the collapse include John Sutch Cranes Ltd (£19,500) and Wavertree-based Christmas Warehouse (£16,700).

None of them are expected to get their money back, according to administrators.

The company, which also operated wheels in Manchester, Birmingham, Dublin, Weston Super Mare and London, went under in December because it was unable to pay cumulative debts of £950,000 to the Inland Revenue and Sheffield City Council, which had both issued winding up orders.

A company voluntary arrangement proposing 40p in the pound to creditors was knocked back. A lack of customers during ‘off-peak months’ is also given as a reason for the administration.

The wheel opened in November 2009 and was meant to be on the site, adjacent to the arena, for 12 months.

WTA Director Elliot Hall set up a new company to buy back the assets and goodwill for £230,000. The old firm had debts of £16m, with unsecured creditors expected to get nothing.

One of the former directors, Jonathan Shipley, was owed £1.5m as a secured creditor – he has so far received £60,000.

The 60 metre-high wheel is still trading as usual under the new firm.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Wheel loveFebruary 23rd 2011.

The problem with the wheel at the Kings Dock is that it is boring. I paid over £30 to take my visiting family up.

"That's the roof of the arena. That's the river.

"That's the roof of the arena. That's the river.

"That's the roof of the arena. That's the river.

And then we were down on the ground again.

It's even worse after nightfall.

Much better was the one at Liverpool One where you could actually spot things.

AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2011.

It was going nowhere from the start...

Rownd a RowndFebruary 24th 2011.

When it was at Liverpool One it was accessible to casual tourists and shoppers walking about.
On the other hand the area around the Arena is a bleak, windswept wasteland that no-one in their right mind would walk to for pleasure.

The wheel would be better off earning its crust in Bootle or Garston.

Sturmey ArcherFebruary 24th 2011.

Hang on, the Arena is actually charging rent for such an inhospitable site? More fool WTA for paying it!

Prater ParkFebruary 24th 2011.

If it were sited in a proper part of town so that I might happen to walk past it, and there wasn't much of a queue to get on it, I'd be tempted to have a go.

Not a chance of that happening where it is at the moment.

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