Brighton’s i360 viewing tower one step closer to being constructed

Brighton’s i360 viewing tower one step closer to being constructedBrighton seafront’s i360 viewing tower is one step closer to being constructed as the kickstart loan for the project looks set for approval.

Councillors look set to grant approval to Brighton and Hove City Council borrowing up to £15m to lend on to the project’s developers.

If agreed, the deal would be set up by the autumn and the building work on the 180m tower could be re-started this year.
So far developers Marks Barfield, the firm behind the London Eye, have financial backing of £20m out of the £38m required. In May the new Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership provisionally agreed a £3m loan – due to be ratified on July 12.

On the same day, the council’s powerful policy and resources committee is likely to approve a borrow-to-lend plan which would provide the remaining £15m.

A report to the committee recommends authorising officials to set the deal up, following a two-month risk assessment of the loan plan by the council and its financial and legal advisors, who deem it safe.

Council leader and chair of the committee Cllr Jason Kitcat said: “This isn’t a spare £15m we have lying around and it is not money from local council taxes.

“This is money the government would allow us to borrow from external funders and lend on for this purpose – and this purpose alone. They will only allow this for projects which boost the economy and the money must be repaid with interest.

“We feel this could be a tremendous leap forward because it uses external funding to provide a huge boost to our economy and hundreds of jobs for local people.”

Officials believe the risks will be relatively low while benefits could be huge. A completed tower would be expected to attract up to 800,000 visitors a year, spending upwards of £5m in the city and encouraging up to 18,000 more people to stay overnight.

Contractors will be the Dutch steel contractors Hollandia who provided the steelwork for the London Eye, while the i360’s passenger pods and drive mechanisms are being made by ski lift giants Poma, who also worked on the Eye.

The i360 is set to be built on Brighton seafront, at the site of the old West Pier.

Photo by Arran Riddle

Posted by on Jul 5th, 2012 and filed under Business, Community, Entertainment, Jobs, News, Politics, Tourism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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