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Petitioning Debt Management Office Eastcheap Court 11 Philpot Lane London EC3M 8UD United Kingdom) Public Works Loan Board

Please refuse the BHCC loan request for £36.2m for onward lending to Brighton i360 Ltd to build the i360 on Brighton's Seafront

The i360  gained planning consent in 2006 for a 100 passenger viewing pod and nearly 500 foot tall pole which has increased to 200 passengers.  There is no updated, planning-assessed Environmental Impact analysis to accurately show how this doubled impact would affect the ground level road use, area use or city amenity should projected visitor figures be realisable.  There are no arrangements in place for coach parking, taxi drop off, and only an already busy carpark opposite to accept a maximum expectation of 600 passengers per hour (plus milling observers and other area users). Toilet provision for all those people is absent.

The 2006 planning consent is nearly 8 years old, only remaining live because West Pier metal bits from the shoreline area were removed in 2009 and this constituted implementation and comencement of development.  There is no decommissioning plan for this 'attraction' during or at the end of its 50 year lifespan.

What financial backing Marks Barfield had for their i360 was never sufficient to build it and in 2013 it was announced that even this had been lost.  Only some £6m of Marks Barfield family money is now involved and this sum may represent liability already incurred.  It is, for instance, known that the pole is already manufactured and lying in a Dutch yard.  It can be seen on the Marks Barfield website.

If private financial backers are not achievable from anywhere in the world, why should Brighton & Hove residents be expected to assume this risk?  At Policy & Resources where Conservative & Green Cllrs agreed to getting the loan from the PWLB, a Marks Barfield repesentative spoke of "joint marketing".  So there would be ongoing need for Brighton & Hove City Council to cough up funding for the marketing of it, over and above existing commitments.

What happens if more money is needed during the building process?  Or after?

We do not believe this project constitutes the best use of the PWLB opportunity as there are other projects either in the pipeline or stalled.  The important King Alfred seafront site in Hove is about to gain a preferred developer and the Brighton Centre/Churchill Square redevelopment is urgently needed and stalled.  These two sites represent serious infrastructure and regeneration opportunities that would not be risky investments should PWLB money be sought to take them forward.

Marks Barfield must not be encouraged to continue to hold the West Pier site hostage, as, effectively, sitting tenants with no professional pride or respect for Brighton & Hove.  And the i360  should not be built with public money.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Debt Management Office Eastcheap Court 11 Philpot Lane London EC3M 8UD United Kingdom)
    Public Works Loan Board

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