Brighton and Hove City Council
Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) is borrowing £36 million from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) for the i360 on a 25-year loan. The PWLB is a central government agency where the Council can borrow money provided that it can demonstrate that the loans can be repaid. Income from British Airways i360 will pay for all the borrowing costs incurred by the Council.
The Council is borrowing at a low interest rate from the PWLB and will charge Brighton i360 Ltd at a higher commercial rate, thus earning a margin on the loan.
No council tax revenue has been used to support the i360 and the margin on the loan will earn the Council a new income stream of over £1m per year, which councillors have decided should be used to reinvest in the seafront
A ‘cash sweep’ mechanism is in place, which means we repay excess profits back to the Council. According to our business plan we expect to repay the 25 year loan after 18 years.
We are very confident that British Airways i360 will be a huge success. Independent research has shown British Airways i360 is likely to attract around 700,000 visitors a year (more in the first year) but the numbers needed to make the loan repayments to the Council are far lower – around half of that estimated figure. So there is a significant buffer built in.
Coast to Capital
The last £4 million for the scheme comes in the form of a loan from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. This is a 7-year loan from the Growing Places Fund. The aim of this fund is to support projects delivering employment growth, which are able to repay the loan with a clear mechanism and are ‘shovel ready’. An independent economic study estimated British Airways i360 will deliver 440 new jobs to the region.
Ron Crank, Chief Executive of Coast to Capital, said, “We immediately recognised the significance of ensuring this iconic project proceeds, enabling Brighton & Hove to remain at the forefront of the UK visitor economy. Our Growing Places Fund has been established to support such loan investments and guarantees the creation and sustainability of local jobs.”
West Pier Trust
Our landlord is the charity, the West Pier Trust. The Grade I listed West Pier was considered the most beautiful pier in Britain. After devastating arson attacks destroyed it in 2003, hopes of restoration were dashed.
British Airways i360 – a ‘vertical pier’ – is considered a fitting replacement for the West Pier with high standards of design and engineering used by the Pier’s famous architect, Eugenius Birch. It will enable visitors to “walk on air”, much as the Victorians “walked on water” on the Pier.
The i360 scheme will also include the restoration of the original eastern 1866 West Pier toll booth, and produce a facsimile reproduction of its pair. The toll booths will return as British Airways i360 ticket office and tea rooms, open for the public to enjoy once again.
British Airways i360 will provide the Trust with an income stream. This money will be used to help fund the restoration of an iconic 1866 octagonal pier kiosk as a West Pier Heritage Centre. It will also support the Trust’s education work with schools and fund the removal of pier wreckage from the sea bed.
The much loved and photographed ‘sea island’ will remain when British Airways i360 opens. Meanwhile the Trust is looking at options for a new pier, which meets everyone’s aspirations, is economically viable and will be an elegant addition to the seafront. British Airways i360 will make a new pier more not less likely.
Said Glynn Jones, Chairman of the West Pier Trust, “The i360 will help ensure that the Council’s vision for seafront moves ahead. By working in collaboration we will bring to our City a world class attraction which will be a worthy successor in part to the former West Pier. By reaching agreement the City has once again continued the process of reinventing itself, demonstrating that is Open for Business and that it is at the leading edge of tourism for all age groups.”
Photo credits Adam Bronkhorst, Gary Eastwood, www.visitbrighton.com