Work on the i360 viewing tower on Brighton seafront is expected to start within weeks, the West Pier Trust said yesterday (Thursday 6 March).
The trust issued a statement after members of Brighton and Hove City Council agreed to lend £36 million to the project from the Public Works Loan Board.
The project architect and developer Marks Barfield is contributing £6 million towards the overall cost of £46 million.
The remaining £4 million is coming from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
And the attraction is scheduled to open in 2016 – two years after work starts.
The trust said: “The West Pier Trust is delighted that councillors have voted in favour of a funding scheme that will cost the taxpayer nothing but will regenerate a key blighted city site and send out a loud message that Brighton is open for business.
“i360 construction will start in weeks and a new era can finally begin.
“The famous West Pier site, home to the finest British pier, will once again boast an innovative and stylish attraction worthy of its predecessor.
“And Brighton’s proud reputation for being a progressive city that punches above its weight will be boldly reinstated.”
Trust chairman Glynn Jones, a former chief executive of the council, said: “I and the rest of the West Pier Trust are truly delighted that in this marvellous city by the sea, the council has agreed to give the Brighton i360 the green light.
“This was a brave decision at a difficult time but I have no doubt that its courage will directly help kickstart the local economy and demonstrate that once again Brighton and Hove has reinvented itself and is leading the way in 21st century sustainable tourism.”
The trust said that the i360 would also create interest in the sea-based site and the West Pier Trust would be in a strong position to consider new ideas for its development.
Coast to Capital chairman John Peel said: “The economic benefits from having the i360 to stimulate growth and add the most value are well recognised.
“The Coast to Capital Fund is there to unlock jobs and growth in the area.”
Coast to Capital increased its support for the i360 from £3 million to £4 million at a meeting at the end of February.
And before the council’s Policy and Resources Committee met yesterday, Coast to Capital urged councillors to support the plan to borrow £36.2 million from the government to lend on to the project.
The LEP said: “The Brighton i360 could bring tens of millions of pounds of economic benefit to the Brighton and Hove coastal region each year.”
Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “It’s very encouraging that the local enterprise partnership recognises the importance of investing in the development of the Brighton i360 and Brighton’s seafront which will give a massive boost to the local economy.”
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