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Saved! £3m bid to restore crumbling flats on seafront

BRIGHTON'S crumbling Embassy Court could undergo a multi-million pound revamp.

After years of neglect, the eyesore block of seafront flats may be saved. Architects, appointed by leaseholders living in the flats and a housing association, hope to return the decaying Art Deco building to its former glory by the year 2000. Embassy Court Lessees' Association representatives joined Sanctuary Housing Association officials at the site today to discuss plans for the refurbishment with the consultants. They have appointed Hove architects Alan Phillips with Matthew Lloyd, and one of the world's largest structural engineering firms, Ove Arup and Partners, in a bid to restore the flats. The lessees and Sanctuary say they plan to spend between £3 and £4 million returning the eyesore 72-flat block to its former glory, when the homes were occupied by the famous. The investment would be made up of £1.4 million from the Government's Single Regeneration Budget, a £1 million lottery bid and an undisclosed sum from Sanctuary Housing. But the bid rests on Sanctuary being able to buy the leasehold to 23 of the flats from Portvale Holdings Ltd and three leasehold flats from Hauteforte Holdings and Finance Ltd. Another hurdle will be the success of the Lessees' Association's court bid to take over the freehold from the Crown Estate Commissioners. Architect Alan Phillips is certain the Grade II listed building will be restored. He said: "The do nothing' approach is not viable. A complete refurbishment is the only option." Brighton and Hove Council Leader Lord Bassam said: "We seem to have got a breakthrough in a complicated log-jam of ownership and I'm delighted that we are now making progress. "Tenants and lease-holders have suffered for far too long and we've been frustrated in being able to find a workable solution, having first secured the SRB money. "This building needs to be restored to its former glory." Leaseholders won a court case for major repairs to be carried out by freeholders Portvale Ltd. Faced with expenditure estimated at £1.5 million, the company went into receivership last year.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.

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