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Embassy Court agent quits

A managing agent for Embassy Court, the dilapidated art deco landmark in Brighton, has given up in disgust saying the building will never be refurbished.

Keith Youngs, whose agency Youngs Owen ran 15 flats in the building in Kings Road, said he was fed up with constant battles to improve the building.

Others have welcomed a recent legal ruling they believe paves the way for the long-delayed £4.5 million revamp of the decaying Thirties structure.

Embassy Court was built by noted architect Wells Coates as an elegant art deco spectacle but has fallen into disrepair.

Homeowners have been in dispute for more than a decade with property investors over who should pay for the building's upkeep.

The Argus revealed last Friday how a judge came out in favour of a residents' association, which has formed its own company, Bluestorm.

He ordered Portvale Holdings, which owns nine of the 72 flats, to hand over £78,000 to start that process.

The lessees are now awaiting the judge's full report later this week before moving ahead with their plans. They were hopeful it was the beginning of the end of a tortuous legal struggle made up of claims and counter-claims by the warring parties.

Mr Youngs, whose firm is based in Western Road, Hove, said: "I think what has happened throughout will happen again. There will be more counter-claims and everything will go round in a big circle.

"I would dearly like to see the building refurbished. Fingers crossed it all goes brilliantly, but I can't see it.

"We've decided to have nothing more to do with the building. The leaseholders are totally impossible but it has been six of one and half-a-dozen of the other all round."

He has transferred ownership of all but two of the firm's 15 flats. He said the remaining two were penthouses and he did not expect problems from them.

Portvale Holdings' solicitor Chris Camillin, who lives in Australia, is now the owner of the largest number of flats in Embassy Court.

He asked Brighton County Court to order Bluestorm to pay for repairs, but his claim was dismissed.

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Ken Bodfish welcomed the decision, though he was unable to offer any financial help.

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