i360 Observation Tower
The "i360" (or "Brighton Finger") is an observation tower tourist attraction planned for Brighton's West Beach, to be built at the beachfront site of the old West Pier.
The core of the tower is a thin 4m cylindrical column (to be built in a similar way to welded oil and gas pipelines), 175 metres high, fitted with a doughnut-shaped platform that can be hauled to the top to give a 360-degree view of Brighton and the sea around it. You climb into the doughnut, it climbs ot the top of the needle, you get 360-degree views of Brighton and the sea, and then it climbs down again.
The i360 was originally intended to be operational in 2012, but ran into funding problems. Brighton Council agreed to loan the additional needed money in May 2012, and the tower might now be built by the end of 2013 (if there aren't any further delays or problems)
The siting of the tower at the old West Pier location is is partly a reference to the pier (the i360 has been described as a pier rotated vertically through 90 degrees), and partly because the site already exists and isn't doing much ... but it's also handy to know that if the tower ever fell over in a storm, and fell inland, it'd tend to fall in a nice convenient patch of greenery (Regency Square), and might not cause too much damage. There's also a suggestion that if and when the i360 is operational and making money, that the money could be spent on finally rebuillding the West Pier -- but most Brighton residents will believe that when it happens. If the i360 got built and turned out to be a success, and was attracting significant numbers of visitors to the site, the commercial case for rebuilding the West Pier would seem to be strengthened ... but those are significant "if"s.
The i360 upsets some Brightonians, but then again, given that a lot of them have never really gotten over the trauma of losing the beloved West Pier, almost any suggestion for a newbuild on that site would be likely to get a sniffy reception.