Brighton councillor flags up fresh concerns over i360 finances

Posted On 01 Dec 2022 at 6:48 pm

A Brighton councillor has flagged up fresh concerns about the i360 finances weeks before the tourist attraction’s operator is due to make a £900,000 repayment.

Councillor Daniel Yates

Labour councillor Daniel Yates, a former leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, asked whether the i360 would pay the sum expected by the council at the end of the year.

Senior council finance manager James Hengeveld said: “I understand that it’s in financial difficulties so there will be some issues there.”

Mr Hengeveld said that the Brighton i360 Member Working Group was due to meet next week when it is expected to receive an update on the £47 million debt.

The working group is made up of three councillors – one from each of the three main political parties.

In the summer, a “cash sweep” brought in about £700,000 after the council agreed to “re-profile” the i360’s debts.

The concern was raised against a backdrop of rising borrowing costs, with the council having brokered a loan for the i360 through the government’s Public Works Loan Board.

The council has other big projects – funded through capital spending – and the council’s finance chief was asked about them in the light of interest rates going up.

As councillors debated the draft budget for the 2023-24 financial year, which starts next April, Mr Manvell said: “We need to test the affordability of future capital schemes.”

He said that it may prove necessary to curtail some capital schemes – or drop them altogether – if they become less affordable or unaffordable, with borrowing costs rising.

Outside the meeting Councillor Yates said: “I’m shocked that we have had to publicly ask an officer to get a straight answer over i360.

“It’s shocking that the Green administration hasn’t brought these concerns straight to members and the public who hold the tens of millions of pounds of debt that the Green and Tory councillors backed.

“We will have to wait until January now to hear from officers if we are going to be left holding the debt and our council finances hit further.

“It’s our money and our services at risk and we need better information.”

  1. Nathan Adler Reply

    The administration knows that the 900,000 due had no hope of being paid, so lets try and keep it quiet! When will the council say enough is enough and stop backing this complete failure.

    • Charles U Farley Reply

      That would mean admitting they screwed up. Do you really think they will do that? I mean ever?

  2. Yibble Reply

    #sendkitcatthebill

  3. Chris Reply

    Would the council not be better off financially if it takes over the whole thing. The debt will only get worse and there seems little prospect of this project ever being profitable. The debt will be all the greater for leaving it longer.

    • Jessica Reply

      No, because there is no way the council would run this attraction properly. They don’t have the competencies and it would generate even less revenue. No doubt some of this debt will need to be written off but at least it has provided another tourist attraction for Brighton and as the area has now been regenerated and will be bringing in lots of new business rates this will provide partial compensation for the loss.

  4. Rostrum Reply

    We have an ineprt, inefficient, fraudulent and politically corrupt council.
    They are financially profligate for their pet projects while they ignore the basics required by the majority. They concentrate only on their doctrinal goals.

    The i360 is just the biggest example of there incompetence.

    We need a proper investigation of the councils governance.

    • fed-up with brighton politics Reply

      What governance is that? Officers do (or don’t do), whatever they fancy, councillors do not get on their case for answers (except Mr Yates, who is now vigorously questioning what the hell is going on) and we may – or may not – get some gobbledook answer from officers in January. I am totally tired of saying that officers run this dysfunctional council as they like (and in a manner that a lot of residents do not like at all) and that councillors do not ask enough questions or flex their elected muscles to bring these people to account – so well done, Mr Yates, and keep on their case.

  5. Greta Reply

    What’s the problem? It is the best glorified lift in England.

    • Susie Reply

      That just mean. The G party had the best of intentions.

  6. Peter Reply

    Everyone warned of its failure. Obvious to anyone who has lived locally for some time, as we have a feel for what would work and what wouldn’t. We were ridiculed for highlighting the problem and accused of being ‘negative’ for asking what ‘plan B’ would look like. Now it’s clear to everyone that the i360 has been haemorrhaging money since it opened. There is a way of solving this, but again the idea is being ignored. The problem is the lift to nowhere.. the pod being too small to actually be used for anything. The answer is a new pod, four times the size, that’s permanently fixed to the top, the current pod would be the lift that takes you to the large fixed pod. This new large pod would be a restaurant by day and bar at night. This would be such a cool and unique experience. Just need more support for the extra weight (I’ve already designed this). This is how we turn it around.. someone make it happen please before it has to be dismantled.

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