Labour raises concerns about possible default on Brighton i360 loan

Posted On 05 Dec 2022 at 6:10 pm

Labour councillors said today (Monday 5 December) that they had “deep concerns” about the potential for a significant default on the next instalment of the i360 loan.

The Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council said: “The i360 has consistently failed to live up to initial business projections – as Labour always predicted, being the only political group in the city to vote against backing the Green/Tory vanity project, with 100 per cent public funding when private sector partners could not be found.

“Now, only months after the council agreed to restructure the repayment of the loan owed to the local authority by the i360’s operators, Labour has learned that there is the possibility of a major default on the next instalment of the loan repayment, following questions we raised at last week’s Policy and Resources Committee meeting.”

The joint Labour opposition leader Councillor Carmen Appich said: “Labour never wanted the public purse to fund the i360.

“It was a flawed business model from the outset – as we tried to convince our Green and Conservative colleagues of at the time.”

Councillor Appich, who is also her party’s finance lead, added: “Its ongoing impact on council finances is totally unacceptable, particularly in the face of savage cuts from central government and increased demand for services in this cost-of-living emergency.

“We are deeply concerned about the potential of a major default on the next loan repayment.

“Labour councillors will leave no stone unturned in improving the governance of the i360 and examining every possible solution to salvaging some return on taxpayers’ ill-spent money.”

A “member working group” made up three councillors – one from each political party – met this morning to discuss the situation.

The working group is due to meet again on Wednesday (7 December) as the officials and advisers look at their options in the event of a default.

Under the restructuring agreement, signed off by councillors in July, the i360 would be expected to make a payment of at least £900,000 at the end of this month.

If it did so, this would be the biggest repayment since June 2018 – and more than the £700,000 received by the council in late June or early July this year.

The operator missed both of its six-monthly repayments last year and in 2020.

Since its last repayment, the sponsorship deal with British Airways has ended and no replacement headline sponsor has been found, adding to the financial challenges.

The i360 could not be reached for comment.

  1. Paul Temple Reply

    There needs to be a full and frank inquiry into the whole i360 debacle. The officers and councilors involved need to be held too account because whilst we all moan about government cuts to funding we could all end up paying the price for a totally self inflicted disaster.

  2. Mike Beasley Reply

    The Greens have absolutely no business sense or financial acumen. All policy is dogma driven. We have just heard that the current Green administration have lost £800,000 of potential parking revenue thru sticking in a thoroughly underused cycle lane on Madeira Drive, and they whinge about having a budget deficit. Somebody get these morons out

    • chris Reply

      I think that the loss of revenue in parking is greater. As well as the cycle lane debacles lots of little “nibbles” at parking in residential streets, communal bins, bike shelters exending yellow lines etc. I am sure it would all add up to £1.5m per annum at least..
      But that said they want us to pay more/blame others so they can further their disjointed agendas.

  3. adrian hunn Reply

    It was Kitcat that signed the final approval for this.. He should be held to account for it..they should imprison him for at least 50 years as he has no financial means of substance to recompense what this has cost the taxpayers of Brighton and Hove – so that any future totally incompetent clown in his position of authority will not make similar ridiculous decisions

  4. Yibble Reply

    We told you so. #sendkitcatthebill

  5. Robert Pattinson Reply

    I live opposite we said before it was built it would not attract the predicted numbers. This time of year the seafront is empty. Even in Summer on a bad day its empty. The buildings around it need to be used around the clock with bars and perhaps a nightclub. Its in darkness early evening so will never make money. Night time the pod could be a cocktail bar etc it would be simple to put a loo in it. It already has a bar and could do hourly flights. Or how about a Star wars attraction the flying saucer is already built.

  6. jake lee Reply

    Whilst we moan about this, another white elephant is slowly morphing at the other end of our beloved seafront, the sealanes project, though privately funded, will impact the council and us the taxpayers eventually when it proves to be be another flop. Has Brighton not have enough decaying facades and structures littered all over? Brighthelm of the past have greatly being led down by a few blinkered self indulgent lemmings.

  7. Peter Reply

    There is a way of solving this. 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.

    • Hannah Ford Reply

      Probably unfeasible but i like the concept.

  8. Peter Reply

    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 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.

  9. ChrisC Reply

    No one should let the Tories off their part of the blame for this debacle.

    The council loan only got approved because Theobald and the other Tories on the Policy & Resources Committee voted for it.

    If the Tories had voted with Labour not to grant the loan we wouldn’t be in this mess.

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