The i360 should “cough up” more than £44 million it owes the council, the city’s Green leader has said.

In an exclusive interview with The Argus, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council Phelim Mac Cafferty said he would “work his hardest” to ensure the multi-million-pound loan the council gave to the seafront attraction is repaid in full.

Documents presented to councillors in a budget meeting yesterday revealed that the i360 now owes the council almost £44.2 million after failing to make a £900,000 payment due at the end of last year.

Cllr Mac Cafferty said that, in a special council meeting next week, the administration would “reaffirm our commitment to go back to the i360 and tell them that they need to start coughing up the money”.

Cllr Mac Cafferty said the council will also examine what payments the i360 is making to the West Pier Trust.

The Argus: The i360 failed to make a £900,000 loan repayment due at the end of last yearThe i360 failed to make a £900,000 loan repayment due at the end of last year

“My understanding is the i360 has continued making those payments, while they have not made them to the local authority,” he said.

“The broader question has to be about the seriousness with which the i360 board understand us.

"I have been very clear with them that they need to start taking the conversation seriously; the rest of Brighton and Hove is taking it very seriously and has been anxious about the repayment programme.”

While he said that “no one could have anticipated when the i360 opened that things like Brexit and the pandemic would come along”.

Cllr Mac Cafferty also noted that, while in opposition, the Green Party had called for the i360 to make larger repayments to the council “while the sun was shining”, but the suggestion was turned down at the time.

He said: “I take the situation very seriously and I take the fate of all destination experiences across the city very seriously.

“We want the i360 to be successful, in the same way we want the Palace Pier, the aquarium and all the other facilities to be successful.”

Councillors will discuss the future of the i360’s loan in a special meeting of the council’s policy and resources committee on Monday.

The i360 refused to comment.