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Predicted capacity for Brighton viewing tower i360 doubles
New papers show the predicted capacity on the i360 viewing tower has doubled.
In recent days concerns have been raised that the financial projections for the project have been based on exaggerated figures compared to those that were included in the original planning application in 2006.
When the original plans were submitted and approved by Brighton and Hove City Council developers predicted the tower would accommodate 100 people at a time and would attract close to 550,000 new visitors every year.
But the latest addendum for tonight’s meeting on getting a £36 million government loan to fund the tower show different figures.
It is now predicted the attraction will take 200 people at a time and will attract closer to 750,000 visitors a year.
Opponents of the controversial project used the information and took to Twitter to question the legitimacy of the plans, claiming the council was using different information to have the loan approved.
Ian Coomber, a planning consultant and former council planner, said: “The traffic models, transport statement, environmental impact assessment and vehicle movements were all based on 100-person capacity.”
“There are quite a few people with more than a raised eyebrow.”
The designs for the 475m tower, proposed for the old West Pier entrance, have not changed.
And David Marks, of Marks Barfield architects, who are in charge of the project, said councillors have been shown the predicted 200 people capacity before.
“The pod size has not changed,” he told The Argus.
He added: “It can actually accommodate more, as it is 10 times the size of a London Eye pod with a capacity of 25-30.
“It means that even with 200 people everyone can have a view standing at the window side by side. In reality, people will move around and the capacity will vary according to time of day and season.”
He said the city’s tourism sector continues to grow.
He added: “The number of people living in the catchment area and the number actually visiting Brighton has also significantly increased since 2006, the market has got bigger, and this is reflected in the independent projections of visitor numbers.
“This report was produced by one of the UK leading experts with an excellent track record. Incidentally, the Royal Pavilion numbers have gone up 22 per cent in the last 5 years. The visitor attraction sector has been growing during the recession.”
Council leader Jason Kitcat, whose party has announced its intention to vote for the project tonight, said the new business projection reflected the changes in the market and had no impact on the original planning decision.
“It’s clutching at straws to take a 2006 planning report and suggest it’s material in any way”
He added: “It would be more worrying if everything was exactly the same from seven or eight years ago.”
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