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'Vertical pier in the sky' has proved successful in 2016

14th November 2016
'Vertical pier in the sky' has proved successful in 2016

The British Airways i360 viewing tower has proved to be a popular addition to the Brighton skyline despite initial reservations about its potential.

Officially the world's tallest moving observation tower, the i360 stands where the Grade I listed West Pier connected to the seafront promenade before it burnt down back in 2003. When you reach the top of the futuristic-looking structure, there are fantastic views in all directions - up to a huge 26 miles.

The idea behind this new structure was not to replace the West Pier exactly, but to offer a 'vertical alternative' that would respect the historic seafront of Brighton whilst still pulling in tourists from across the country and further afield.

Visitors to this fabulous new attraction are sent skywards in a large curved glass pod that has a total capacity of 200 passengers. This pod resembles those from the popular London Eye (the team behind the Eye were consulted before this project began nearly 12 years ago) but is obviously far larger and comes to rest at a much higher altitude - the viewing level for the i360 is 450ft.

The tower has cost an estimated £46m and has followed through on its promise of creating hundreds of new jobs to the area as it continues to regenerate the coastline area in the west of the city. 

Architect David Marks said: 'British Airways i360 cannot replace the much-loved and much-missed West Pier, but it can offer a modern-day alternative - one whose purpose, like the West Pier, is simply to delight, entertain and inspire. Just as the original West Pier invited Victorian society to walk on water, visitors are invited again to gain a new perspective on the city and its setting between the land and the sea, to walk on air.'

Many local residents have stated that they are pleased to have seen developments take place in what they believed to be a neglected area of the city.

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