According to Brighton and Hove News , “A petition calling for marking on the pavement around the i360 showing the time and date goes before the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on Tuesday 23 June.”
The petition is available on the council’s petition site and, at present has a mere 57 signatures. It states, “We wish to create an educational attraction that demonstrates how our ancient ancestors developed the measurement of time and date by creating dial plats around a vertical post used gnomon,” and suggests marking various pavements around the town, replicating Augustus’ sundial in Rome.
This seems an excellent way of redeeming a rather disappointing project. The i360 has missed its targets both for visitors and for repaying its loan from the council. (It’s worth adding that the visitor estimates were viable, making the failures even more disappointing). The restaurant, despite a superb location, seems to be promoted ambivalently – someone recently recommended it to me as a great place for meetings, since it was “almost always empty”. The i360 should have been at the center of a thriving and exciting area, but has made little impression.
I’ve long been disappointed with the i360. It was used as a reason for removing some of the beautiful ruins of the West Pier, and a distraction from any feasible project for renovation or replacement of the old pier. It’s hard not to see the i360 as establishing a beach head for commercial development of the beach.
The only real value in the i360, for me, is its height, functioning as a landmark for Brighton in the surrounding landscape. It’s visible on the Downs from Chanctonbury to Firle and I’ve even referred to the i360 as a gnomon myself, with its placement at the center of a long arc of the South Downs. It’s an eyesore close up, but its height makes it a feature from a distance. Maybe using it as a sundial within the town would be a good way of making it more interesting close up.
The i360 was promoted by the West Pier Trust as “putting [Brighton] absolutely fairly and squarely back on the map as an exciting, glamorous and daring place to be”. It’s not done that and it’s possibly unfair to expect the i360 to live up to its own hyperbole. But turning it into a sundial seems like a definite improvement.