He will not be deflated.....
Balloon idea not a load of hot air
By Mike Laycock
Top balloonist Per Lindstrand says he has not given up on his plans to offer
tourists the view of a lifetime from 400 feet above York.
Mr Lindstrand, who has captured numerous world records for hot air balloon
flights, revealed in November last year that he wanted to launch a tethered,
helium-filled HiFlyer balloon from the city centre.
But almost one year on, he has still not yet lodged a planning application
with City of York Council, despite suggestions in March that one would be
submitted by the middle of summer and that the balloon might be up and
running in time for Christmas.
However, Mr Lindstrand said today that he had been working behind the scenes
over the past year to secure the best place to site the balloon.
"In a sensitive, historic city like York, we need to find the right
location," he said.
He had been in close negotiations with the owner of a particular site, the
location of which he was unable to disclose at this stage.
But he was confident that the site could be unveiled before the end of the
year, and an application submitted to the council.
He said he hoped the balloon could be up, up and away by next Easter, the
start of York's next tourist season.
York's other attraction which gives tourists a bird's eye view of the city -
the Norwich Union Yorkshire Wheel, won permission in January and opened at
the National Railway Museum at Easter, since when it has proved a massive
success with tourists, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Per has insisted previously that the balloon will provide a very different
experience to the wheel, and that the two attractions will complement each
other rather than compete.
He said the balloon would get twice as high as the wheel, and up to 25
people in a secure gondola would be able to look down on York Minster,
Clifford's Tower and all the city's other great sights.
On a clear day, they would also be able to see 25 miles in every direction.
Per, who is managing director of balloon and airship manufacturers
Lindstrand Balloons Ltd, based in Shropshire, told The Press last autumn
that York had been chosen ahead of cities such as Edinburgh to be the first
British city to host a balloon.
At the time, he said: "York is perfect for it."
Similar balloons are operating at some of the world's greatest tourist
sites, including Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls, Pompeii and in Barcelona,
but Britain has only had one so far, which operates in the summer season
only in Bournemouth