Hastings Borough Council last week granted full planning permission by delegated powers to social enterprise developers White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures (WRNV) for refurbishment of the Observer Building and change of use. The permitted mixed-use redevelopment will comprise retail and office space, a microbrewery, 15 residential units, event and gym space, and ancillary shared and management accommodation.

WRNV say that they expect to put the building contract out to tender by early November, to appoint the contractor before Christmas, and to see work started early in the New Year. The aim will be to complete by March 2022.

Sufficient funding is already in place to enable the lower four floors to be developed. Further fundraising will be undertaken so as to be able to follow through with the residential part of the building and rooftop designs. 

“The Observer Building has suffered 35 years of dereliction, speculation and extraction. This is the first time it has had a deliverable planning permission, and the resources in place to deliver it. There is still a long way to go, but it’s going to happen!“ said WRNV Project Director, Jess Steele.

Trustee David Bysh added: “We are one big stride closer to providing affordable homes and repurposed space for businesses and bringing it all into community ownership forever”.

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