i360 in the Indy

Here’s the text of the piece in today’s edition

Thank you for supporting the i360 

There were people who had doubts that the London Eye would ever work, be a waste of money, spoil the view, ruin the skyline and would never happen. All these doubts turned out to be unfounded.

We are backing the Brighton i360 with enthusiasm, passion and £6 million of hard cash precisely because we are 100% convinced of its viability, its value to the city and its growth-driving potential. Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership is also convinced and is investing £4 million.

We did not walk away when bank funding dried up in October 2008, in the wake of the global financial crisis, or again in November 2012 when private backers unexpectedly withdrew within weeks of starting on site. With the support and encouragement of many in Brighton we persevered.

The government loan agreed by the council last week means this 21st century observation tower will rise from the historic West Pier site – a decision backed by Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership, Brighton & Hove Tourism Alliance, Hove Civic Society, Preston Street Traders Association, West Pier Trust, the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), local residents, businesses, the trade unions and, of course, the city council.

It is a good example of Brighton and Hove taking positive action for jobs and growth and seizing the opportunity to regenerate the seafront. The city stands to benefit the most from this decision, not least in the £1m a year which will return to be invested in the city once the i360 is in operation.

Councillors are right to say Brighton & Hove needs to keep reinventing itself to avoid the decline other seaside towns have suffered and continue its upwards trend in visitor numbers. They also said the funding proposal had been scrutinized more closely than probably any other issue that has come before them.

Even those councillors who opposed the proposal have said that now it has been approved they will do everything they can to support it and ensure it delivers a return on the investment.

We care deeply about this project and don’t take Brighton’s support lightly, or for granted. We won’t let you down.

David Marks and Julia Barfield