This afternoon at the West Pier site the start of construction of the i360 viewing tower was marked by a Ground-breaking Ceremony.
L to R, Cr Theobald, Julia Barfield, David Marks
Leader of the Council Cr. Jason Kitkat
Short speeches were made by the architect David Marks and the Leader of the Council Cr. Jason Kitkat, and, in the brilliant sunshine, it was impossible not to share some of the project vision of the former and the economic optimism of the latter. It was also intriguing to learn some details of the construction process which will involve landing the great sections of the tower on the beach from barges. These sections will be added to the tower at its bottom end, jacking up the previous assembly within a giant supporting steel frame. David Marks promised plenty of viewing points so whatever ones opinions about the tower walks along the seafront over the next couple of years will provide plenty of interest.
The City Mayor, Cr. Brian Fitch, today cut a red tape to declare open for business the beautifully restored arches to the west of the West Pier site. The old arches were built out from the cliff edge over 100 years ago to bear nothing much heavier that a horse & cart. They have been reconstructed from scratch to cope with a 40 ton load, i.e. the weight of a modern lorry should, by accident or design, such a need arises.
Special bricks and woodwork were commissioned. Some of the arches are already occupied as art studios and similar.
Two of the arches provide new public toilets which look fairly inviting so far. Unfortunately they charge 30p entrance and in the Ladies a flush wasn't working.
The Old Ship Hotel garage was built in the 1920s to house cars of guests with fairly basic accommodation for their chauffeurs on the first floor. The design is utilitarian and displays only faint nods to the Art Deco. But I like the uncompromising 3D lettering. No ambiguity there!
In April 2010 a planning application was approved to demolish the garage and replace it with a 7 storey (5 storeys above ground level) hotel extension, comprising 42 bedrooms, 2 conference rooms, car parking and a restaurant/bar. In April 2013 an extension of the time limit for demolition was granted.
The latest application, BH2014/02100, demonstrates how much things have changed over the last 4 years. Evidently, the City now has enough hotel bedrooms; conferencing is increasingly being conducted over the internet; the Council has a policy of discouraging private car use and encouraging sustainabilty, and there is certainly no shortage in the area of restaurant and bars.
BH2014/02100 is for a new 6 storey building to provide 8 one bed and 10 two bed flats on the 1st-5th floors and associated cycle and car parking on the ground floor and including solar panels on the roof.
Proposed elevation on Black Lion Street
I can see just the place to reinstate the lettering . . . .