London Eye architects, David Marks and Julia Barfield and the West Pier Trust have submitted a planning application for Britain's tallest observation tower, Brighton i360. Positioned at the beach end of the West Pier, this new ‘vertical pier’ will give visitors spectacular views of Brighton & Hove, the South Downs and the South Coast. Around 125 guests will gently rise to 139m high in a fully enclosed ‘pod’ – 4 metres higher than the London Eye.
Consultation will take place over the summer and Marks Barfield Architects hope that planning permission will be granted by October this year, with building commencing early 2007 and the attraction opening summer of 2008.
Eleanor Harris, Managing Director of I-Xperience, which will be operating Brighton i360 says “We expect Brighton i360 to attract around 550,000 visitors annually - 20 per cent first time visitors to Brighton, and to become Brighton’s biggest paid for visitor attraction. Our vision is to create the best visitor experience in the UK. We also hope to become the most unique venue for weddings and civil partnerships. ”
Brighton has been chosen as the site for the i360, as it has a large tourist economy with 8 million visitors per year and is a vibrant location. The architects anticipate that the Brighton i360 will create 109 new full-time jobs, boost tourist revenue by up to £10m, and act as a catalyst for regeneration and development in the area. Adam Bates, Head of Tourism for Visit Brighton comments “We are thrilled at the prospect of having this elegant 21st Century tourist attraction in our city. It will improve the competitiveness of Brighton as a tourist destination.”
The Brighton i360 will provide an income stream for the West Pier Trust to finance its heritage retention works and the future of the Pier. The design will include restoration of the original Victorian toll booths and seating, and the creation of a Heritage Centre, which will incorporate an exhibition about the West Pier’s history.
It will fund the tidying up of the beach and removal of the wreckage, whilst retaining the sea island where thousands of starling currently flock at dusk. Approximately 20% of the energy required to operate the i360’s pod will come from silent wind turbines at the top of the spire.
Initial local response to the plan has been positive. Mark Jones, Chairman of the Brighton and Hove Hotels' Association says: "The Brighton i360 is inspirational and visionary and will ensure the city's place as an international tourism destination for decades to come. It will help Brighton and Hove to outdo other cities not just in the UK but in Europe as well, which are just a cheap flight away."
You can learn more about the Brighton i360 by visiting an exhibition which will run throughout the summer at the Brighton Fishing Museum at 210 King’s Road Arches, open all week 09.00 – 17.00.
The Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership will be making a formal response to this planning application.
To feedback on the plans log on to http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/index.cfm?request=c1105561 or write to:
Development Control, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove, BN3 3BQ with reference to planning application number BH2006/02369 and listed building consent application number BH2006/02372.
All comments must be received by 7th September 2006.
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