Developers to submit planning application to redevelop former Hastings Observer building

The developers looking to restore the former Observer Building in Hastings town centre are preparing to submit a planning application for its full redevelopment.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 12:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 12:44 pm
The whole building as a cross section. Picture: Beth Woolf

White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures (WRNV) – who will have owned the building, in Cambridge Road, for a year on Friday (February 14) – are hoping to turn it into its second community hub in the town centre, after Rock House, which is located next door to the old Observer building.

The team of developers will be submitting a planning application for the full redevelopment this April, which includes a mix of capped rent homes, workspace for local businesses and leisure space with a public roof garden – a similar mix to Rock House.

Beth Woolf, one of the project managers for the redevelopment, said: “We are delighted to be moving the project forward. In the next few years, the Observer Building will become a vibrant centre for living, working and enjoyment.
“We want it to resume the important role it has previously played as a bustling community hub in the town centre.”

The former Observer building in Cambridge Road, Hastings. Picture: Beth Woolf

Prior to the application, Hastings Borough Council will be holding a public planning forum about the redevelopment.

WRNV and its architects IF_DO will present their proposal for discussion by councillors, planning officers and invited community representatives.

Members of the public have been invited to attend, ask questions and feedback to the developer.

The forum will take place on February 26 at 6pm at Council Chamber, Muriel Matters House, Breeds Place, Hastings.

Architects IF_DO said they are particularly interested in what the Observer Building can offer young people in the town.

They will be running a fun family activity for children to imagine how they might use the building in the future. This will take place on March 17 from 10.30am to 12.30pm in Hastings Library.

WRNV said they also have plans to develop for an experimental season of events and activities this summer, as well as pioneer businesses opening up in the building later this year.

A spokesman added: “The team at WRNV are working with two passionate, locally grown businesses and are hopeful to be able to make announcements about those tenancies in the coming months.

“Owing to their growing scale and ambition, WRNV and its partner charities Heart of Hastings CLT and Leisure and Learning are recruiting for five new positions over the coming months to work with them on the Observer Building and wider neighbourhood regeneration in White Rock. Check out www.theob.org.uk and www.heartofhastings.org.uk for more information.”