Former Hastings Mayor and Council leader Pam Brown has heaped praise on Jess Steele, the local campaigner who has helped secure a feature for the old Observer building in Cambridge Road.
Jess and her team at White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures (WRNV) acquired the iconic building for £1.15 million.
Initial plans for the building include office and artist and maker space and leisure use.
Pam Brown said: “How truly wonderful to read the Observer building success story. This really is a triumph not to be under-estimated.
“This property has remained an eyesore in the heart of Hastings for so long that most people had long given up hope on a future for this dominating structure- the bane of long suffering adjacent neighbours who must tolerate its continued neglect with increasing frustration.
“Those who have shown interest in this building in the past have done so solely to profit from gaining evermore unrealistic planning permissions in order to sell on the building for more than they paid for it.
“So all was doom and gloom until along came Jess Steele. To have someone of her calibre living locally and working solely for the community is a remarkable benefit to our Borough of Hastings.
“Starting with the Pier, Jess Steele led the successful bid for funds to begin its re-generation. Then she moved on to Rock House, which seemed to all who attended the many meetings, to be a mammoth task for mixed use - yet Jess achieved her goal.
“Every obstacle became a challenge to be met and overcome.
“She has demonstrated again and again her determination to press on and use her considerable expertise for the benefit of the community and not self advancement. Now - incredibly, when all else has failed, she and her team- White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures have acquired the Observer building.
“I have watched her progress with ever increasing awe and amazement.
“Now is the time for the whole local community to get behind this long term venture and give support and co-operation whenever possible, to try to hasten the day when this project is finally completed. Jess has given so much- now we must all play our part to support and encourage this remarkable citizen.”
With the support of the local and wider community, the team hope to raise at least £10,000 to get started with the immediate works and have started a Crowdfunder. Visit www.theob.org.uk.