THE LONDON EYE. The London Eye also known as the Millennium Wheel has become the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, visited by over 3 million people in one year. The wheel carries 32 capsules, each capsule hold 25 people who are free to walk around inside the capsule. The London Eye was formally opened by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on 31 December 1999, although it was not opened to the public until March 2000 because of technical problems. Since its opening, the Eye, operated by Merlin Entertainments, has become a major landmark and tourist attraction. By July 2002, 8.5 million people had ridden the Eye. It had planning permission only for five years, but at that time Lambeth Council agreed to plans to make the attraction permanent. During the bidding process of the 2012 Olympic Games, the London bid organisers announced the Olympic emblem would be attached to the Eye for the duration of the 2012 Summer Olympics. On 20 May 2005, there were reports of a leaked letter showing that the South Bank Centre (SBC) , owners of part of the land on which the struts of the eye are located had served a notice to quit on the attraction along with a demand for an increase in rent from ÂŁ64,000 per year to ÂŁ2.5 million, which the operators rejected as unaffordable.