Brighton i360 tower stalled by lack of funding

David Marks David Marks hopes to build the i360 on the promenade site of the ruined West Pier

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A project to build a 600ft (183m) viewing platform on Brighton seafront remains stalled five years after it was given planning permission.

David Marks, designer of the i360, is believed to be still trying to raise about one third of the £20m funding.

"The balance has been challenging to find, particularly among the British banks so we are talking to overseas banks at the moment," he said.

"I am not sure where we are going to end up but I do know it is viable."

His company, Marks Barfield, developed the London Eye on the south bank of the River Thames.

Brighton and Hove City Council gave planning permission for the i360 structure, on the site of the ruined West Pier, in October 2006.

It was hoped it could be operating by the time of the 2012 Olympics.

"Every time I have been pushed to give a date it has been proven wrong for one reason or another, so I am not giving any dates at the moment," said Mr Marks.

Artist's impression of i360 The i360 would have a viewing pod which will climb a spire high above the seafront

The designer gave a talk to Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce on Friday about the challenges of the credit crunch and lessons learned from building the London Eye.

He said funding for that project also had to be obtained from overseas banks.

Construction began last week on a 197ft (45m) ferris wheel along the seafront on Madeira Drive, expected to open in October.

But Rachel Clark of the West Pier Trust said the wheel was not seen as competition for the i360.

"In terms of the planning permission, that will have to come down as soon as the i360 construction begins," she said.

"Also, it is a very different experience. The i360 will be far taller and it is certainly not a ferris wheel."

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