Former benefit offices to undergo renovation

41 Wellington Square, Hastings
41 Wellington Square, Hastings

AN EYESORE Grade Two listed building which has been empty for three years is set undergo major renovation work.

The former council welfare and benefits office in Wellington Square has been standing idle since it was sold to a developer in the autumn of 2009.

The building which runs across six blocks was sold to three separate developers.

Each developer bought two blocks and now two owners have appointed Claremont-based architect John McCart to redesign their buildings.

Mr McCart is expecting to talk to the borough’s conservation officer next week to outline his ambitious plans which involve turning office space into residential accommodation and revamping the front elevation.

Planning permission has been approved and the buildings could be ready for occupation by the end of 2013.

There will be a mix of two bedroom and one bedroom flats along with two bedroom maisonettes.

Last year the council revealed there were several people on the housing waiting list.

Hastings Borough Council was considering bringing enforcement action against the owners through its Grotbuster programme.

Simon Allen, spokesman for the council, said: “We are working with Mr McCart and we’re as committed as them to getting this building up and running.

“We have been in contact with the architect Mr McCart and our conservation officer is due to talk with him.

“Grotbusters action was being considered as a way forward but that has now been suspended.”

Architect John McCart said: “We are very excited about the plans although it has been quite a long planning process.

“We intend to breathe new life into these buildings and create first class living accommodation. Our clients are keen to proceed as soon as possible.

“Once completed these building could be an important catalyst for the area.

“When people start seeing families enjoying picnics on the lawns in the square, it is sure to inspire more investment in the area.”