SUSSEX’S tallest building is set to get a boost to make it the tallest of its kind outside of London.
British Airways i360 bosses have submitted a planning application to add an 11.45 metre spire to the 162 metre tower to make it the tallest UK observation tower outside London.
If the addition is approved, the Brighton monument will tower above the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth which is 170 metres tall and pull further away from the 158 metre Blackpool Tower.
Permission is also being sought for a new children’s play zone and to convert one of the West Pier toll booth’s into a tearoom.
British Airways i360 chief executive Eleanor Harris said the minor adjustments were being sought because their thinking had “evolved” since the original planning consent was granted in 2006.
Bosses said that even with additional height, the tower would still be within the 175 metre height originally approved by Brighton and Hove City Council a decade ago.
The spire will replace a proposed wind turbine which bosses said proved to be unfeasible to install.
Minor proposed amendments would see the addition of a children’s play zone inside the beach building, converting the eastern West Pier toll booth into a tea room rather than as a VIP check-in area and new plans for modern seating on the boarding deck.
Originally it was planned to use reconstructed weather screen benches but the seats were not found during a salvage operation.
David Marks of Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the London Eye and British Airways i360, said: “The proposed spire is an architectural feature on top of British Airways i360 to replace the original wind turbines which proved unfeasible to install.
“Spires on top of buildings look great and have many precedents going back over a thousand years or more, adding light design features to the skyline that can be seen from afar."
Eleanor Harris, British Airways i360 chief executive, said: “Our thinking has evolved since we were granted planning consent 10 years ago.
“The West Pier is held in great affection and we felt it important to open the toll booths to public use.
“The eastern toll booth will now become a tea room, which will be open to members of the public not just people riding on the vertical cable car, and will also be available to hire for events and weddings.
“Our original plan had been to use this as a VIP check-in area for the vertical cable car.
“As a parent, I wanted to include an indoor children’s play zone to make British Airways i360 a year-round family destination.
“We have been consulting with local families on what theme they would like to see in the zone and have had a very good response to the idea, as there is currently no similar facility in the area.
“Building is progressing well and British Airways i360 is on schedule to open this summer.”
Rachel Clark, West Pier Trust chief executive, said: “We are thrilled that the original toll booths from the West Pier are being rebuilt and returned to public use; and the West Pier Trust hopes that in due course they may be joined by a rebuilt octagonal kiosk.”