Part of university building collapses in Hastings centre

Priory Square 1st floor building collapse
Priory Square 1st floor building collapse

BRICKS and scaffolding tumbled into the street after parts of a multi-million pound university building collapsed in the town centre.

Two floors of cladding on the Priory Street side of a University of Brighton building, that is halfway through construction, toppled over on Sunday evening at around 9.40pm.

Following the catastrophic setback, the university is re-assessing its opening date for the building, which is the second phase of its University Centre Hastings project.

Originally touted as this September, the date has already been pushed back to Christmas and is now under threat again.

The cause of the damage is not yet known. Maria Slater, spokesman for McLaren Construction, the company behind the £7.5million build, said the incident was being investigated.

Police closed Priory Street overnight while the damage was assessed, and fire crews were called to help make the area safe.

Professor Stuart Laing, the university’s deputy vice-chancellor, said he was ‘very concerned’ by the collapse.

He said: “While we are relieved no one has been hurt, we want to determine precisely what happened and how it happened, to ensure something like this does not re-occur.

“The cause of the incident is under investigation by contractors and we will assist in this process in any way we can.

“The university is committed to helping regenerate Hastings and St Leonards through education at many levels, through our own campus facilities, the career-focused courses specific to our Hastings campus, and our sponsorship of two academy schools.”

Hastings Borough Council said it had received no complaints from residents about the safety of the site before this incident.

Demolition of the old building behind the Post Office began in February last year, with construction starting four months later.

When complete, the site will house trainee nurses and scientists from the University of Brighton.

The project, which is part of the wider renovation of Priory Quarter, is managed by development company Sea Space, which declined to comment on the collapse.