Old Observer building up for auction today

The old Observer building in Cambridge Road, Hastings.
The old Observer building in Cambridge Road, Hastings.

A COMMUNITY group’s plans to save an historic landmark building in Hastings town centre up for auction today (Friday) appear to have been dashed.

The Observer building in Cambridge Road is set to be auctioned for an estimated £150,000 at The Hilton Brighton Metropole and is being sold by a Law of Property Act (LPA) Receiver, Eddisons. The dilapidated building used to be the site of the former print works and offices for the Hastings Observer. It ceased to be used by the Observer in 1989 and it fell into disrepair.

Community group the White Rock Trust (WRT) has been seeking local contributions to save the building and has so far raised £50,000 which it was hoping to use as a cash deposit and pay the remaining £200,000 by September to take it out of auction. But one of the trust’s directors Jess Steele said a higher offer had come in and even though the trust said it could match that another offer of more money was put forward. She said: “We can’t buy it at auction because we need to sign an auction contract and you are personally liable for the completion money and that would make the directors of the White Rock Trust personally liable.”

The Hastings resident said without a guarantor it is unlikely it can buy the building. The trust had hoped to turn it into a facility comprising residential, commercial, community, leisure and a market space.

Emma Attrell, senior action valuer, said: “It would be a boost to the town to see new life breathed into this landmark building, with historical planning applications providing for conversion of the premises for up to 59 flats.”

WRT can be contacted on 07720 318067 or email: ed@whiterocktrust.org.uk.