CAMPAIGNERS have continued their battle against the agreed £36.2 million loan for the i360 tower.

Members of Brighton and Hove City Council’s policy and resources committee voted to approve the multi-million pound loan last Thursday.

But an online petition has been started calling on the Public Works Loan Board – the public body that will administer the money – to refuse the council’s request for funding.

And after just a few days the petition has collected 407 signatures.

The petition states: “If private financial backers are not achievable from anywhere in the world, why should Brighton and Hove residents be expected to assume the risk?”

Hove resident Valerie Paynter, who set up the petition, said she felt a responsibility to take action to try to stop development going ahead.

She said: “It would be nice to see a new pier that incorporates the sailing club and then lots of things happening with the pier. We need to get away from the nonsense of the i360.”

The decision to agree the loan was made despite concerns from the public and some within the council that the project was too risky.

Concerns had been raised about the size of the loan and suggestions that the predicted visitor numbers used to approve the business plan had doubled since the original application.

But despite the concerns, the loan was agreed and start of work is expected within the year.

David Marks, managing director of Marks Barfield Architects, the developer behind the project, defended the plan and claimed much of the opposition to the 175 metre tower had been fuelled mainly by misinformation.

On the petition, he said he welcomed public comment but said claims that there would be no toilets, the pod was increasing in capacity and the council was paying for marketing were “plain wrong”.

“We think people would generally support the i360 if they understand this is a project which will bring hundreds of jobs, millions of pounds and help preserve the seafront for future generations.”

A council spokesman said: “It’s not a bidding process such as with the National Lottery. Once the project is underway and reaches a stage where the funding is required, we can get access to it immediately.”