The lease for the Brighton Wheel will not be renewed, according to Brighton and Hove City Council.
The council released a statement this afternoon (Wednesday 24 June) that said: “Brighton and Hove City Council has made clear the Brighton Wheel will not have its lease renewed and will have to cease trading ahead of the i360 opening, as originally agreed.
“This is an entirely separate decision from that of the Planning Committee which this afternoon refused a planning application for the Wheel to stay for another five years.
“Councillors objected largely because of the Wheel’s impact on nearby historic buildings and homes.
“The decision not to renew the lease for the council-owned site means the authority is sticking to its original intention when granting the Wheel a temporary stay five years ago – to prevent two competing viewing attractions existing side by side on the seafront.
“As things stand it would mean the Wheel would need to be dismantled by the time its current planning consent expires at the end of May 2016.”
The council also released part of an email to the Wheel from council assistant chief executive Paula Murray which said: “Further to the meetings held last year and our subsequent correspondence regarding your desire to extend the lease for the Brighton Wheel, I thought that it was appropriate to reiterate the position of the council as landlord of the Dalton’s Bastion site, particularly as you have a planning application to extend the planning permission for the Wheel on that site pending.
“The council as landlord has not changed its view from that expressed to you last year in that the council does not intend to give permission for the Wheel and the i360 to be operational at the same time.
“This is explained in more detail in the attached response that the council made to the local planning authority in respect of the planning application you have submitted.
“No doubt you are aware of this response but it is attached for ease of reference.
“Therefore, should the application to extend the planning application be approved and you decide to request the council as landlord to extend the lease for the Wheel to continue operating on the site, the council will not be in a position to give landlord’s consent for a lease extension.
“As I have said to you before, I know that this is not welcome news to you and for that I am sorry.
“I hope that you can find another suitable coastal site for the Wheel when it ceases here.”
The decision is expected to mean that the council forgoes about £1 million in rent and business rates over the proposed five-year extension period.
Although the council collects the business rates, it has to give them to the Treasury. It receives some money back.