Brighton i360 fact check

Supporting our visitor economy

The Brighton i360 is one of the most visited paid-for attractions in the city, receiving 1,879,000 visitors between August 2016 and January 2023. It has helped raise the profile of our visitor offer nationally and internationally and is one of the world’s most slender viewing towers.  

Passengers have views along the coast towards Beachy Head and the Isle of Wight, north to the South Downs National Park and south across the English Channel towards the Rampion offshore windfarm. 

The i360 was built with sustainability in mind, including producing its own energy to power the pod. 

Regenerating our seafront

The attraction has been a catalyst for the regeneration of an important part of our central seafront and has provided economic and community benefit for the city. 

The i360 makes a £29.9m annual contribution to the local economy. It currently employs 150 people and has calculated that it directly and indirectly supports around 450 jobs locally.


The i360 build had several funding streams: 

•    Council borrowing of £36m from the government’s Public Works Loan Board (PWLB)
•    £10m    invested by the i360 owners 
•    £4m from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). 

It was estimated that the attraction would make three times the loan repayments due each year. 

The intention was that the repayment of the loan to the council would include a margin to be invested back into the seafront.

We also received just over £960,000 of fees from the i360 for the arrangement of the £36m PWB loan. This money was spent on landscaping work on council-owned property around the i360. 

There has been £1.9m of investment in the area surrounding the West Pier, allowing for a new piazza and events space as well as 15 new shops and galleries, with business rates and rental income created. 

i360 directors do not receive revenue from the attraction and shareholders receive no payments until other commitments are settled.

Loan repayments

In its original business case, the i360 over-estimated the number of paying visitors it would achieve each year. This led to a shortfall of funds available to repay the loan. Consequently, over time the i360 has asked for its loan repayments to be reviewed. 

It isn’t unusual for a business to reschedule loan repayments in the short-term to sustain profitability in the long term; it’s a pragmatic business approach. However, Covid and now the cost-of-living crisis has depressed visitor numbers and further impacted revenue.

Agreement to restructure the loan arrangement was made in July 2022 by cross party councillors on our Policy & Resources (P&R) committee.

In June 2022, the i360 made a payment of £700k and was due to make a further payment of £900,000   in December 2022 based on the restructured loan. This payment was missed.

The cost of repaying the i360’s loan is £2.2m a year. If the i360 was unable to make any payments, this would become the council’s liability. 

Next steps

We are focused on getting the money owed as quickly as possible. 

The i360 is holding a strategic review of the attraction to develop a new business plan and a recovery strategy. We will consider this plan at a Special P&R meeting this month before making decisions about the best way forward.

More about the planning and funding of the Brighton i360