Waking up of a morning and looking out onto French soil has come a step closer – without my having to move house, let alone country. I’ll soon be able to stumble out of bed and head down to the seafront in my hometown of Brighton, where work is now underway on the i360 tower.
When it is finished in 2016, the tower will stand 162m tall and will have an observation deck that rises from beach level and allows visitors to see great distances.
Developers say that as well as giving views over the city and the South Downs, visitors should be able to see London on a good day – and, importantly, France.
The tower stands at the foot of the remains of the old West Pier. The Edwardian pier burned down not once but twice, leaving just part of its original metal frame. The council sought ideas about what to put in its place – and proposals for a viewing tower were approved.
Building began six months ago and reached a milestone in recent weeks when a Victorian sewer was diverted away from the tower’s foundations.
The i360 has been designed by the same husband-and-wife team behind the London Eye. The wheel on the banks of the Thames remains Britain’s number-one paid-for tourist attraction today, some 14 years after it was first opened to the public.
“Developers say that visitors should be able to see London on a good day – and, importantly, France”
Brighton’s tourism bosses – and the council leaders – will be pleased if the i360 can repeat that kind of success.
As for me, I can’t help feeling I’d prefer to have it all to myself.