The Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership [LEP] has allocated over £14 million towards five projects which have a total value in excess of £173m and will potentially provide over 2000 jobs. Brighton's i360 was one of them.
The £3m of LEP funding will allow Brighton & Hove City Council to add £14m of debt funding to the loan and make up the shortfall that is stalling the i360 scheme. The loans will be repaid with interest at commercial rates from the income generated by the attraction when it starts to operate.
The £35m i360, the brainchild of architects Marks Barfield, consists of a single storey glass heritage centre built on the site of the West Pier root [shore end] which is owned by the West Pier Trust. The roof of the heritage centre would be level with the promenade and would form a deck area and incorporate the two original West Pier kiosks.
The i-360 is a viewing tower that would rise up from the middle of the heritage centre to a height of 172 metres, making it the tallest building in Sussex. It would incorporate a viewing pod, which would take 100 passengers at a time to the top of the tower. Eight hundred thousand visitors per annum are expected to visit the tower [see earlier story] generating an operating profit of approximately £6.7m per annum and about £5m in additional spending for the local economy together with 154 jobs [fte] directly and up to 444 indireclty.
Following planning consent in October 2006 the project stalled in the wake of the 2008 credit crunch and the contraction in bank lending on commercial projects. But the i360 was already at a reasonably advanced stage with £18m of equity funding and construction contracts in place, advanced prefabrication underway and a detailed implementation plan, licences and some legal agreements already completed.
The other projects in the LEP area that were successful in their funding applications include:
- Malling Brooks, Lewes [erection of seven units including B1, B2 and B8 uses together with long stay car park (70 spaces) and associated landscaping]
- Airfield Park, Bognor Regis
- Caterham Fast Fibre Hubs
- Ruskin Square, Croydon
Coast to Capital received 16 applications seeking a total of £57m following their call for potential projects for the Growing Places Fund.
- 4 major housing projects
- 7 urban economic projects
- 5 'others'
The projects came from both private and public sector:
- 8 public sector
- 4 private sector
- 1 joint public/private,
- 2 community ventures,
- 1 housing trust
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Coast to Capital LEP