Scheme to revamp former Observer building given go-ahead

Old Observer Building, Cambridge Road, Hastings. SUS-171228-132003001
Old Observer Building, Cambridge Road, Hastings. SUS-171228-132003001

A new proposal to redevelop the former Observer building in the town centre has been given the green light by council planners.

Flint Development Group put forward plans to provide an artist studio on the lower ground, residents’ gym on the mezzanine, and a restaurant and shop, together with 50 flats with private roof terrace, at the site in Cambridge Road.

Two years ago the company unveiled plans to provide accommodation for 230 students, an art-house cinema and a shop/restaurant at the site.

But the application was withdrawn in May last year due to the decision by the University of Brighton to close its Hastings campus.

When the original proposals were first unveiled in 2015 they attracted heavy criticism from objectors, the main concern being over the addition of a seven-storey building on top of the existing structure.

Flint Development Group subsequently reduced the height in revised plans but eventually went back to the drawing board last year.

In the latest application, the height of the proposed development has been reduced by five metres, compared to the original plans.

However the latest plans, which were given approval at a council planning meeting on December 14, have still attracted opposition.

Objectors say the development will generate more traffic in the area, there was inadequate parking and that the number of proposed flats was too high.

They also said the proposed development was out of character for the surrounding area and dominated the skyline.

In a statement, Flint Development Group said: “The promotors are delighted with the result.

“It is the best Christmas present of all this year and we are pleased to have been able to make our own little contribution to a small coastal town with a huge personality and a brilliant future.”