*** The Petition link ***
A few issues that need clarification as some people are unable to either access the petition or make the page work if they get there.
1. Do not log in. No need. No need to register in order to sign a petition there. No need to be on Facebook either. Just fill in the name & address/comment blanks on the petition page itself. But please feel free to promote the petition on Facebook if you use it (saveHOVE does not use Facebook). The option to display your name openly or to keep it off the screen is in the tick box below ‘Send’. If you are a councillor or council officer or dangerously famous, you may wish to avail yourself of this option to sign the petition but not have your name displayed. Untick the auto-ticked box if this applies to you, before pressing ‘Send’.
2. Do not copy a petition link from Twitter into Bookmark or Favorites. If you do, Twitter will be caught in the URL, affecting use for some people when you pass it on to email. Mobile links may not work on laptops either. Use desktop links only. Still not getting successful signing? Go to Google and input “i360 petition”. This one is first in the list. Click from there and it may get past the gremlins stopping you signing. Enabling Java Script is also supposedly helpful according to Change.org itself. Also, using Firefox or other than Internet Explorer for your browser will make a difference. IE does not display all details for some reason.
3. Do tweet this post, email a link to it or Bookmark/Favorite the petition link HERE to pass on. I think I have been guilty of innocently and ignorantly doing that. Mea Culpa. The link above, on this post does not have Twitter in the URL so it can be copied to your contacts or tweeted on. Just spotted it when putting in this new link. I have learned!
4. Don’t be intimidated by the Change.org donation screen that pops up after you sign. Whilst on the petition site I have seen signatures appear and then disappear. I hope that is not because of the donation screen that now flashes up.
Change.org is a magnificent free service to the public which presumably funds itself entirely from donations. I don’t know about that, but because our stop-the-i360-loan petition has gained signatures quickly, a screen now flashes up seeking donations to aid the campaign. This is not there because saveHOVE is making the request and no money will come to saveHOVE. But by all means help Change.org and whatever they do to help petitions (including ours) if you feel able to do that. But donation is not compulsory.
And there are apparently “supporters” doing things which eludes my understanding; so a mega THANKS if you are one of them!!!! I read the Change.org email when notified about these things and go a bit blank.
How this situation developed with links to background papers
1. The Planning Applications consented in 2006: Because the West Pier is Grade 1 Listed, a Listed application was needed as well as a normal plannng application: You can view application detail and drawings in the Planning Register on the council website for:
BH2006/02369 for Land adjacent to West Pier and 62-73 Kings Road Arches, Kings Road Brighton for partial demolition of the existing pier structure and construction of an observation spire (approx 183m in height above ordnance datum) and heritage centre (use class D2 with ancillary retail uses at lower promenade level and all works incidental to the development of the site including relocation of two lamp standards and works of alteration to arches 62-73 Kings Road.
BH2006/02372 is the listed application for the same area for: Demolition of the ‘root’ end of the West Pier and removal and demolition of the ‘sea wreckage’ and all associatd structures. Works of alteration to arches 62-73 Kings Road, removal and relocation of two Listed lamp standards and alteration and partial removal of listed seafront railings adjacent to the site.
3. In 2009 it was declared by BHCC legal department that the consent had been implemented after items were removed from the seabed. This prevented the planning consent from expiring…..forever.
4. July 2012. Marks Barfield did not have funding in place when it got planning consent and never achieved enough interest or commitment from anywhere in the world from 2006 onward enabling them to actually build the i360. The West Pier Trust, who own the site, seem not to have had a time-limited development agreement with Marks Barfield either which effectively left Marks Barfield in the position of sitting tenants with a planning consent that will never expire. Instead of leaving things be or trying to get Marks Barfield to withdraw, it seems BHCC felt the constructive thing to do was to pay for the build. Here is the 2012 Policy & Resources Report which proposed that BHCC borrow to top-up the funding shortfall, in order to get the i360 built. And here is the Decision notice to enter into a £14.8m loan agreement with Marks Barfield’s Brighton i360 Ltd.
5. Marks Barfield then LOST what private equity funding it had which bolted at the end of November 2012, leaving the project with just the £6m from Marks Barfield themselves, a £3m grant from Coast 2 Capital LEP, and the money BHCC was prepared to BORROW to lend to Brighton i360 Ltd.
6. September 2013 saw Marks address the Economic Development & Culture Committee about the lost funding and give assurances they could replace it. There was no webcast of that meeting, alas. But at that meeting Selma Montford for the Brighton Society asked a public question and the reply is worth reading at points 20.10 and 20.11 Here is the Report to that Committee There are of course Minutes which may give the content of the speech from Marks for what it is worth.
7. March 6, 2014 and a Special Policy & Resources meeting is convened which sees BHCC ACCEPTING NOBODY IS GOING TO BANKROLL THE i360, so guess what! Brighton & Hove City Council WILL. But of course, they are doing so and accepting the debt risk of £36.2m on behalf of taxpayers who are given NO SAY in whether they want it or not. If the thing bombs then taxpayers will have to stump up and the security for this loan? The i360 itself. BHCC intend to borrow from the Public Works Loan Board at one rate of interest and lend on to i360 at a higher rate which they fully believe will net them an income of £1m at least p.a. Main agenda from the link above is here for handy reference
NB The P&R agenda report (link above) gives May 2014 as the date by which it expects to finalise and enter into the revised loan agreement with Brighton i360 Ltd and presumably it will have the loan agreed by the Public Works Loan Board which they intend to lend on to i360. At the time of writng this, 19.3.14 the PWLB have confirmed they are not currently dealing with anythng from Brighton & Hove City Council.
Blog articles warning against the public funding of i360 include the following: Neil Schofield http://notesbrokensociety.wordpress.com/tag/i360/ Cllr Ben Duncan http://www.kemptownben.com/category/i360/