Wednesday, 6 June 2012

" The lunatics are running the asylum"

This is a  phrase quoted from an excoriating article on the i360 project in this month's "What's Happening" magazine. The article is by Brighton's favourite entrepreneur Mike Holland and in it he asks, "If we have £17 million to spare, why are we closing libraries and toilets? Why are we not supporting local charities sufficiently to ensure the very vulnerable people in our society do not suffer needlessly?" 

He also claims out that a sustainable replacement pier which he and his partner had offered to finance could be built for £25M, much less than the i360, but that the "huge egos within the West Pier Trust precluded that from happening".

Mr Holland provides a detailed analysis of the financial prospects for the i360 which it seems difficult to fault. He concludes that even assuming optimistic customer figures the annual running costs will exceed expenditure by over £1M.

Meanwhile, over at the Argus, a letter from Brighton Society Chairman Malcolm Dawes  about the successful Saltdean Lido Campaign refers to the tenacity the campaign has had to employ in getting action from a foot-dragging Council. He refers to an earlier letter from Rebecca Crook, chair of the campaign, in which she compared the council’s offer of £14 million to the developers of the i360 with the Scrooge-like attitude of supporting the listed Saltdean Lido (Letters, May 15).

Mr Dawes says, "The main priority for the council should be ensuring the city’s existing leisure facilities are well-managed and provide a high-quality service to residents and visitors – and ensure swimming pools do not remain closed on hot sunny days.

But it seems its priority is acting as a financial backer to a speculative development.

Keeping swimming pools open seems a much better use for the council’s money in such harsh economic times."

2 comments:

  1. Well, in my humble opinion, I would much rather see money being spent on a restoration of the West Pier, as opposed to the building of the i360.

    A very domineering structure, and completely out of place considering the seafronts architecture...

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  2. The i360 should be Brighton's answer to the London eye and as such be a draw encouraging more visitors to the city. Also it is a unique and exciting piece of architecture. Brighton seafront is all theater and this fits perfectly, centered on Regency square and the West Pier. The West Pier burnt out iron frame, home to flocks of birds, is a romantic and beautiful ruin in the sea and one of the iconic images now associated with Brighton. The council are right in helping the i360 out the ground. Times and money are always tight and money spent on grand projects always attract criticism but in the end a legacy is left to future generations, and there is pretty little we are creating of quality and of our time that future generations can look back on.

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