Back to drawing board for Observer building plans

The iconic Observer building
The iconic Observer building

Proposals to revamp the former Observer offices in town look set to be changed.

In December last year, Flint Development Group unveiled plans to provide accommodation for 230 students, an art-house cinema and a shop/restaurant at the Cambridge Road site.

But the recent decision by the University of Brighton to close its Hastings campus has forced developers to revisit their proposals.

Jeff Kirby, Flint’s chief executive officer, said he and his colleagues were currently exploring alternative schemes for the building.

He added: “The Observer building is an extremely challenging site to develop and expensive to refurbish so the only way to make it viable is to have housing there.”

One of the options available is to have a schene providing more than 40 new residential apartments.

Mr Kirby said: “Due to the University of Brighton planning to close its Hastings campus, having student housing is no longer viable.

“We are trying to work out an economically viable solution to develop the site.”

Last December, Flint Development Group was given the go-ahead to use the old Observer building in the town centre as an arts space.

Hastings Borough Council granted the temporary use for two years.

The original plans for the former printing works, which have been empty for more than 20 years, were first unveiled last summer.

At the time, people’s main concerns were over the addition of a seven-storey building on top of the existing structure, saying it would cause overshadowing.

Flint Development Group has since submitted revised plans, including dropping the height by two floors.

The company is expected to submit its latest application in due course, which will then be discussed by the council’s planning committee.

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