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Builders move in to restore eyesore

Work begins today to restore a neglected seafront block of flats.

Contractors Austin Cradles will start preliminary building work ahead of a proposed £5 million refurbishment of art deco Embassy Court in Brighton.

Leaseholders will also be introduced to the team put together for the restoration project, including architects appointed by design guru Sir Terence Conran.

Residents will be able to ask about plans for the building, which include swimming pools, a restaurant, art gallery and a museum.

Scaffolders will erect a fan hoarding around the first floor of the 110ft building, to protect against falling render and glass during the winter months.

The next priorities will be replacing the building's ineffective communal heating and electricity systems and installing new windows in every apartment.

But the major restoration, estimated to last about three years, will not begin until next year.

The building fell into major disrepair after many flats were taken over by absentee leaseholders in the Seventies and Eighties, leading to large rent backlogs and service charge arrears.

Bluestorm, a company formed by Embassy Court residents, finally won its David and Goliath-style battle with property developers last year to gain control of the building.

Leaseholders of the building's 104 flats will be asked to contribute to the restoration's costs.

Bluestorm director and Embassy Court resident Rowena Easton said: "We could not have a more enthusiastic, experienced team on the project.

"There is a very bright future for Embassy Court."

Monday December 01, 2003

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