A developer claims it is not viable to retain a “structurally unsound” historic bath house – despite council demands to keep it.

But new guidance drawn up by Brighton and Hove City Council supports keeping Medina House’s Victorian structure and any new development being similar in height to the three-storey building, which has been empty for nearly 15 years.

Former proposals to build blocks of flats up to 18 storeys high on the site in Kings Esplanade, Hove, have been rejected or withdrawn over the years.

But developer Sirus Taghan said incorporating Medina House in redevelopment plans is not economically workable.

He vowed to submit plans for a seven-storey building and the demolition of Medina House later this month regardless.

Mr Taghan, frustrated by the eight-month delay and disappointed by what he perceives as a lack of information from the council, said: “I am not trying to make the case for demolition, it’s just fact.

“The building is structurally not sound and has massive cracks. The cost of repair of the existing structure is three times the value of the building.

“Whatever I build, it has got to go further up than Medina House to bring the number of homes in the development high enough to pay for itself and create a bit of profit for the developer.”

In an attempt to resolve the disparity between the previously rejected plans and the council’s vision, they authority drew up a planning brief. In a public consultation the brief was backed by three quarters of the 42 residents.

A third of respondents said they opposed any high-rise development on the site while a quarter said they would like to see a hotel, café, wellness centre or arts centre built.

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the council’s economic development and culture committee, said: “Medina House has a fascinating history and is well-loved by the local community.

“I am pleased that residents have taken the opportunity to add their comments through the public consultation and have assisted our officers in producing a final planning brief that aims to preserve the building and surrounding area for future generations.”

Members of the council's Economic Development and Culture Committee will be asked to approve the planning brief at a meeting on Thursday.