current affairs

Brighton O-K or O-no?

A mockup of the Brighton O as provided by their PR agency
A mockup of the Brighton O as provided by their PR agency

One of the joys and challenges of representing Regency ward is the number of major projects proposed for the area from redevelopment of the Brighton Centre to building on the site of the old Royal Alex Children’s Hospital and what do with the site of the West Pier.

The latest proposal is a temporary observation wheel known as the “Brighton O” which unusually is a spokeless design. If built the wheel would apparently move to another city once construction of the i360 tower was to commence (another classic Regency ward project saga).

I’m getting very mixed views from residents and businesses on the Brighton O. Many think the wheel would be superb for rejuvenating a part of the seafront which is in need of attention and greater footfall. Others believe it will be excessively disruptive to an already crowded area affecting the sailing club, businesses and residents of buildings it will overshadow.

The case for the O is at and the case against is at

I’d very much like to hear more views on this. Do you think the project will make a positive contribution to the city with an unusual design or is it an invitation for people to look in resident’s bedroom windows? Let me know.

If you’d like to register your views with the planning committee, send your views to

4 replies on “Brighton O-K or O-no?”

Ever since this was first mentioned I’ve thought it was a dreadful idea.
1. We simply do not have the visitors which would make this viable – it will sit there, rusting; unused, unloved and an eyesore to those in the hotels opposite.
2. We are NOT London! We don’t have the sort of view that’s best appreciated from above. Our views are best seen from the ground – the amazing Regency architecture – the sea best seen from the Pier – or best view of all – upstairs on a bus down the seafront, except for reasons best known to themselves, Brighton & Hove buses assured me a few years ago ‘people don’t want buses which run along the seafront’. Yes we do!
3. All those basic reasons like – not enough toilet facilities, intrusive to the clubs etc that are already there…
4. Sea mist. The proposers of this scheme are aware of the all-consuming blanket that covers the coast in mist, yes?
I’m all for exciting new developments but this is a poorly thought out copy-cat plan which doesn’t take into consideration Brighton & Hove’s unique character.

I feel inclined to offer conditional support for the Brighton O project.

In light of the considerable delays experienced in erecting the i360 and the generally poor quality of the visitor attraction offering along the sea-front area, I consider this short-term opportunity to offer significant and worthwhile benefits that should be embraced.  Brighton O will allow us to offer a high quality and innovative experience to visitors and local residents, it will highlight the architectural quality of the area and displace focus from the mid-section remnants of the West Pier, which have been left in situ for far too long and which greatly despoil the sea-front.

I believe that the successful operation of Brighton Pier evidences that the City attracts sufficient visitors to maintain Brighton O’s financial viability  and I trust that the application will be looked upon favorably.

The above said, I must qualify my enthusiasm for the project with the following three caveats:

1) I would be unwilling to offer support for the proposal, if the construction and operation of the O was to compromise the building of the i360.

2) If the Brighton O is considered a success at the end of its two-year licensed period, I believe it should nevertheless be removed from the proposed location, albeit that I would be happy to see discussion about possible relocation to another part of the sea-front between the Marina and Hove Lagoon.

3) I believe it is imperative for the Council to be certain that it can enforce removal of the structure at the end of its licensed period of operation (or before should this be necessary). To this end, I suggest the Planning and Legal teams must ensure that permission is granted only if such an arrangement can be guaranteed and, that there may be the need for a bond to cover the costs of dismantling and removing the construction, so as to avoid another West Pier fiasco.

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