Brighton Wheel asks to stay open for another five years

Posted On 28 Feb 2015 at 2:13 pm

The Brighton Wheel has applied for permission to stay open for another five years, well after the Brighton i360 is built.

Brighton Wheel by Bex Walton on Flickr

Brighton Wheel by Bex Walton on Flickr

The wheel was originally granted permission in 2011, but only on condition it was dismantled in May next year.

The official reason given with the amendment was that the site is not suitable for permanent development.

However, the council was also keen to make sure it did not undermine the Brighton i360, which has since started construction and is due to open next year, also offering panoramic views of the city.

In its application, written by planning consultants Stiles Harold Wilson, Paramount Attractions says: “The Brighton Wheel supports the i360 and believe it will doubtless be a valuable addition to the city’s tourism offer.

“Commentators may query a need for two observation attractions however the only true test of impact is through the concurrent operation of both attractions.

“A further five years for the Brighton Wheel will allow for any delays in the introduction of the i360 but it is not uncommon for major tourism locations to have many attractions available for visitors to sustain its position as a major tourist location.

It also addresses residents’ concerns, saying: “It is fair to say that the concerns expressed by many objectors at the time of the last application (noise, light and visual impact) have proven to be unfounded.

“It is not at all surprising, when faced with a proposed development, local neighbours assume the worst and comment accordingly.

“Impacts based in the predicted visitor numbers at that time have been nowhere near as severe as predicted.

“On this ground alone it is hoped that a further five years of the attraction on site will be welcomed by the council and the local/wider community.”

It says that discussions with officers and councillors from all parties have been encouraging.

You can view the full application here.

However, the application has surprised the team behind the i360, who have called on the Brighton Wheel to honour the agreement it says was struck when it first opened.

Eleanor Harris, CEO of Brighton i360 said: “The Brighton i360 was granted planning permission in 2006 and whilst our construction funding was stalled, the Brighton Wheel was granted permission to be a temporary attraction as a stop gap until the Brighton i360 came along.

“The wheel’s lease has a condition that it must close when the Brighton i360 opens and so we are surprised they have applied to stay.

“The wheel has always been a temporary attraction which is mobile and can be moved on. Many cities in the UK from Birmingham to Belfast to Paignton to York have had similar transportable wheels to Brighton.

“We selected Brighton as the city to build the i360 due to a combination of the large existing tourist economy, wonderful views and the fact that there are no other observation competitors in the city.

“Our funding agreement with the council, has always assumed that there is no rival observation attraction in Brighton, so it would be harmful for the city if it stayed.

“The Brighton i360 will bring huge benefit to Brighton and Hove, generating an estimated 440 new jobs with our staff earning the Living Wage; an additional £25m per annum economic benefit; £1 million per annum to the Council in income at a time of economic cuts; and an extra circa 350k new visitors to the city, who will all spend money in the many shops, restaurants and hotels in the City.

“We are giving back to the community by paying 1% of our ticket revenues to the city, offering discounted entry for local residents, free entry for Brighton school children and paying an income to the West Pier Trust to support their heritage works.

“We are creating the heritage of the future and helping Brighton to retain its competitiveness as the UK’s number one seaside destination.”

  1. Edd Reply

    I’m actually more surprised that they want to stay. It must be more profitable then it appears as I never see many people on it whenever I walk past.

  2. Chris Payne Reply

    Keep the wheel – it looks great and is totally in keeping with its seaside location – unlike the industrial monstrosity that is the i360.

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