Groundwork for the i360 Beach Buildings
J T Mackley Construction have begun rebuilding the West Pier Arches on the i360 site. The arches will form the back of house area for the i360 beach buildings and will be used for storage, our recycling store and staff facilities.
Our original plan was to refurbish the existing West Pier arches, but our engineers advised us that they were in a more heavily corroded and dilapidated structural condition than had at first been anticipated. Two of the arches, known as the ‘White Cafe’ were in a good enough condition to be restored, but it was advisable to rebuild the rest. These arches are not part of the original 1866 West Pier, but were in fact added 20 years later.
Before making this decision, there was extensive consultation with English Heritage, the Brighton & Hove Conservation Advisory Group and local residents who were able to see first hand their poor state of repair.
Having signed a lease for 125 years, the i360 beach buildings and tower are designed to stand well into the next century and beyond. Therefore they need to be able to stand the test of time as we are creating the future heritage of Brighton seafront. Rebuilding the West Pier Arches forms an important part of this plan.
The Rebuilding Process Explained
Work rebuilding the West Pier arches starts at the western end of the site and proceeds eastwards. Prior to the rebuilding works commencing, we have spent the last 6 weeks supporting the existing back wall of the arches installing 114, 5 metre long, ground anchors.
These anchors have been installed to ensure that the rear wall of the i360 beach buildings and the area behind which supports the footpath/highway continue to stay supported during and after the rebuilding works. They also have to be installed before we construct the new reinforced concrete structure.
Our specialist contractor works within the footprint of the West Pier arches structure at all times to ensure that the works do not interfere with other construction on site. A small demolition spec excavator is used, equipped with a rotating ‘selector grab’ which is able to rotate 180 degrees. In the hands of an experienced operator, the excavator allows them to carefully pick up individual items. These operators are so skilled, they can sweep the floor using a normal sized broom, held by the selector grab!
We expect this work to take approximately 3 weeks. During the rebuilding period any waste material is segregated on site and recycled.
In the meantime, as part of the regeneration of the seafront and the area surrounding the i360, the Council has already created a retail space beneath the old arches around the West Pier that are now a series of fantastic innovative, independent businesses. Do come down and visit!