THE BATTLE of Brighton’s two towering seafront attractions continues as both sides stick to their guns.

The dispute over whether or not the Brighton Wheel and the i360 can co-exist rattled on all day yesterday as both parties staked their claim on the seafront.

The i360 camp says council chiefs had always made clear the Brighton Wheel was “temporary” and would have to close when they opened.

However, Wheel bosses say the deal was ambiguous and insist it is still a temporary attraction - it just wants to stay for “a bit longer”.

They added they do not want it to be a case of “us and them” and want both attractions to run in a “parallel operation” for five years – and said this should be possible given the distance from each other.

Those behind the Wheel cited reports which went before Brighton and Hove City Council’s policy and resources committee last year, which suggested any decisions made about the about the extension of the attraction’s lease would be decided in “due course”.

Meanwhile, Brighton and Hove City Council appear to be stuck in the middle.

They say these reports did not supersede the original conditions laid out in a report to its culture, recreation and tourism cabinet.

But when The Argus asked the council whether this would mean the Wheel was unlikely to gain planning permission next time around, they said they could not answer that.

Ian Coomber, working on behalf of Paramount Entertainments, on extending the Wheel’s lease, said: “While it has been reported that the i360 believe their agreement with the authority would result in the removal of the Wheel the actual reports which the authority took to its policy and resources committee in 2012 and 2014 relating to funding for the i360 were ambiguous about the removal of the wheel.”

He added: “There is absolutely no need for any animosity between the two developments which site almost a mile apart. Brighton and Hove has a high and rising visitor volume and there is plenty of tourism to go round.

“It would be hard to imagine the area without the Wheel now complementing the setting of the Pier and wider seafront.”

Delso Da Silva, a representative of the Brighton Wheel, said: “When we first considered bringing a Wheel to Brighton and Hove we were looking at a site adjacent to the i360 and we accepted that the arrival of the i360 would result in the removal of the Wheel.

“However when we moved to a site almost a mile away East of the pier to an area in need of regeneration, it was widely acknowledged that this location would be far more acceptable and may result in an extension beyond the original five years.”

But Brighton and Hove City Council citied from the original 2010 report that the “temporary big wheel attraction” in Madeira Drive was for a period not exceeding five years of operation on the strict understanding that there will be no concurrent operation of the Wheel and the i360.”

A spokesman for the council said: “Council reports are always careful not to pre-judge any likely requests we might get in the future. “But as the planning permission, the lease and the highways agreement suggest, everyone understood at the time the Wheel’s presence to be temporary.”

But Mr Coomber responded and said “we are not suggesting that the Wheel is not temporary.”

He added: “The fear the i360 have expressed may well not come to pass.

“When the planning permission is allowed the council as landowner can consider afresh the matter of the lease.

“I do not agree with the reference that ‘everyone understood’ as clearly they did not and it is not what the lease in fact says.”

Eleanor Harris, CEO of Brighton i360, said the Wheel’s lease “has a condition that it must close when the i360 opens” and “our funding agreement with the council has always assumed there is no rival observation attraction in Brighton”.

Ms Harris added: "I am confident that Brighton and Hove City Council has been absolutely clear with all parties that the Brighton Wheel is required to move on when the Brighton i360 opens."I met the manager of the Brighton Wheel before Christmas and he said that he wanted to apply for permanent planning permission and, because their lease requires that they move on when the i360 opens, I advised that they were wasting their energy on this and would be better spending their time on looking at what other city might want to host the Wheel or look at their options for a different attraction on their site, as Brighton seafront would benefit from a more diverse range of attractions."

The council spokesman said: “We can confirm what i360 have said – its viability figures are based on the i360 being the sole observational attraction – like a viewing attraction / platform of some sort.”