Conservationists are battling to save a historic building in need of a £4 million refurbishment.

The White Rock Trust have launched an urgent request for help to save the iconic Hastings Observer building when it comes up for sale at auction next Friday in Brighton.

The local community action group, who were responsible for winning the battle to save and rebuild Hastings Pier, are mounting an urgent campaign to save the Observer building after what they describe as “30 years of dereliction”.

The Observer building in Cambridge Road in Hastings was built in 1921 over a network of caves which honeycomb the basement but has deteriorated in recent years under a succession of different owners.

The Trust is a partner in the social enterprise that has now bought the adjacent building, Rothermere House, another part of the newspaper empire that once occupied the site.

A recent petition to list the building as a community asset has gained more than 2,000 signatures.

It is hoped it could be transformed into a common house for the neighbourhood with a range of community uses including business offices, art studio, gym and party venue.

A White Rock Trust spokesman said: “The Observer is just like the pier – it’s gone too far and there are no commercial-only solutions.

“It needs to be brought into community ownership so we can access grant funding to get it back on its feet so it can make a massive contribution to the area, as it did for so long in the past.”

Businesses, organisations and individuals who want to help are asked to contact the White Rock Trust by noon on Wednesday.