Beam me up, Scotty! Turn the i360 into a Star Trek experience, urges Brighton businessman

Posted On 18 Jul 2019 at 4:58 pm

The i360 should be turned into a Star Trek experience, a Brighton businessman and homelessness campaigner told members of Brighton and Hove City Council this afternoon (Thursday 18 July).

Jim Deans

Jim Deans, 60, set phasers to stun at Hove Town Hall, telling councillors not to let the current owners cling on as their debts piled up.

Mr Dean told the council’s Policy, Resources and Growth Committee: “It is time to think about a rescue plan before administrators step in, leaving egg on the face of the council.

“There are two billion Trekkies in the world – that is fans of Star Trek for those not in the know.

“This year Birmingham hosts a weekend of Star Trek with a sell-out exhibition – people paying hundreds, if not thousands, to parade around dressed as Klingons or commanders.

“I would be happy to pursue a recovery plan for the i360 and approach contacts within Viacom purely to explore the possibilities of turning the i360 into a proper themed attraction.”

Council leader Nancy Platts said: “I have to confess to not being a Trekkie.”

The council’s executive director for economy, environment and culture, Nick Hibberd, said: “There’s no doubt that themed attractions are in trend and I’d be happy to speak to the i360 to see whether themed events could be a better part of their attraction.”

He said that they already hosted themed events, citing Halloween as an example.

Mr Hibberd shared the latest request from the i360 to defer its debt repayments on a council-brokered £36.2 million loan.

The operator of the seafront attraction was due to pay £1.342 million at the end of June. Councillors reluctantly agreed not to take default action after hearing that visitor numbers were improving and £150,000 was being repaid.

Conservative group leader Steve Bell said: “My confidence in the company which is running the i360 is failing.”

Councillor Bell said that he would have liked board members to be present “so we can voice the concerns of residents to them directly”.

Mr Hibberd said that board members and the general manager had offered to attend but had been advised that it was unnecessary on this occasion.

The USS Enterprise from Star Trek

Former Tory leader Tony Janio said that the committee had been promised that members could see the marketing plan that was expected to underpin a financial recovery – and he wanted a proper set of options if further loan repayments were missed.

He added: “I’m sure there are a lot of people in the current administration who would like to bring things in house.”

Former Labour council leader Daniel Yates said: “We still haven’t seen the business plan that led to the Green and Conservative groups lending a significant amount of money without any subsequent meaningful repayment.”

On the previous two occasions when repayments were due, the i360 was unable to pay the full amount. It deferred £570,000 at the end of June last year and £880,000 at the end of December, making £1.45 million in total.

The sums paid – £922,000 last June and £612,000 in December – total £1.534 million. The latest repayment brings the total sum repaid to £1.684 million.

But after the latest deferral, the i360 is £2.792 million in arrears.

Councillor Yates said: “There are limits to the generosity of this city.”

  1. Valerie Reply

    Put 10 Oct 19 PRG in yr diaries because the autmn deadline for deciding to either refuse/agree a lower repayments i360 loan renegotiation arrives. A very careful handling of the inevitable needs nerve & serious insught & expertise – and we are already heading into a downturn Brexit or no Brexit…

  2. Jason Flake Reply

    Send Kitcat the bill

  3. Simon Phillips Reply

    I’ve an idea.
    Dismantle the thing.
    Put that long tube it goes up and down on, on top of some thing tall nearby building, maybe the top of the Sussex Heights, and the other end, going into the deepest part of the sea near the West Pier (which ironically to repair this would have been the same as this white elephant), but don’t clean the inside.
    And we can charge people, say £5,to push the people responsible for deciding the council should brokerage this ‘seafront chimney’ down it continuously until they repent for wasting our money on this!

  4. Jony Reggae Reply

    Radio on Earth is scandalous…

  5. Tasha Yar Reply

    If only this had been marketed with the same flare as the design and build then it might not be struggling. I’ve been up twice, the second time when relatives came to stay. Loved the views, although it’s a shame you can’t really see the Pavilion. The Star Trek idea is worth exploring as a theme night idea, not least given the way the shape of the pod resembles the shape of the command deck of the Enterprise. Why aren’t there also things like light shows or laser shows, joint tickets for (say) the more appreciative visiting football fans or charity quiz nights with ‘altitude’? It all seems a bit po-faced to me when it ought to be a lot of fun. And the whole BA flight security nonsense brings one of the worst parts of the experience of going to an airport and imports it to what should be a pleasurable viewing of our twin towns by the sea.

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