Steel cups used to build the new Brighton i360 – the world’s first vertical cable car observation tower – will be brought to the beach by barge, it was revealed today.
Members of the community were told more about how the 530ft tall attraction will work – and more about its construction.
The steel cups which will be jacked up one after the other to build the column will be delivered by barge directly onto the beach in the spring next year.
And timelapse cameras have been installed at Sussex Heights and the Hilton Metropole to capture the construction from start to finish.
Brighton and Hove Mayor, Cllr Brian Fitch, cut a ribbon to open the restored West Pier arches – read more here.
Then Brighton and Hove Council leaderJason Kitcat led a group including David Marks, the architect behind the i360 and the London Eye, putting the first ceremonial spade in the ground to formally start the i360 building works.
Cllr Kitcat said: “This is a momentous occasion for Brighton and Hove, which will kick start the regeneration of the wider area, both down on the beach and including Preston Street.
“Our seafront is our most important asset that helps make our tourism industry such a great success in Brighton & Hove. Our innovation here will make all the difference to helping the city continue as one of the UK’s most desirable and successful tourist destinations in the years to come.
“Bold decisions by the council and our partners have made sure this work has happened.”
Said Cllr Ian Davey, deputy leader of the city council, “The restoration of the arches has been carried out as part of ongoing work to strengthen the A259 seafront road by the council’s transport team, with external funding from the Local Transport Plan.
“The arches are stunning, with some really superb businesses already leasing them and helping to make a very special new creative retail quarter on the seafront.”
Said David Marks of Marks Barfield Architects, “It has taken over eight years to get to this point, but the Brighton i360 will now be a reality and will be one of the most exciting visitor attractions in the world.
“The i360 will be the world’s first vertical cable car; an engineering wonder and a major new performing arts, conference, dining and hospitality venue for Brighton.
“It will generate more footfall to this part of Brighton – and we hope bring about the sort of transformation that the London Eye helped create on the South Bank.”
Rachel Clark, West Pier Trust, said: “This is a very special occasion for the West Pier Trust because it marks the beginning of a long awaited new era.
“The i360 will be a brilliant attraction and entirely in the spirit of the West Pier – a vertical pier. It will transform the site and the entire city.
“We would like to thank our members for all their support for the i360 and getting us to this point. We are delighted that two of our traders from the West Pier market, (Magi Altwegg and Dorian and Dinah Delap) have moved into the new arches.”
Ron Crank, Chief Executive of Coast to Capital LEP, which has made a seven year loan of £4m to assist the Brighton i360, said: “All the elements are here to create a true economic regeneration of this area, attracting investment and visitors to this location whilst increasing employment growth within the Coast to Capital region.
“We are delighted to be supporting this important project and look forward to seeing its progress as it develops on Brighton’s iconic seafront.”
Planning permission for the i360 was first granted eight years ago in 2006. It was finally kickstarted into life when Brighton and Hove City Council agreed to draw down a £36m loan from the Goverment to part-finance the £46m project.
This will be paid back, with interest, over 25 years. The council took the decision because it believes it will help stimulate the tourist economy around the West Pier.