THIS is the first image of the development that could replace the county’s ugliest building.

Developers First Base and The Hyde Group have released initial designs for the redevelopment of the Anston House site in Preston Road, Brighton, ahead of a new public consultation.

The nine-storey eyesore, which has remained derelict since 1988, could be replaced with three towers of 15, 13 and 12 storeys rising out around a base building of six storeys all coloured in a distinctive terracotta cladding.

The building has been subject to more than 60 planning applications over the years but developers hope they have finally come up with the solution that would spell the end for the notorious 1960s high-rise, which was overwhelmingly voted the county’s worst in a poll of Argus readers in 2004.

Following the latest round of public consultation, the team aim to submit a planning application in February and hope work could begin at the end of next year or beginning of 2017.

The project is anticipated to take between two and two-and-a-half years to build.

The 0.6 hectare site is designated for a minimum of 200 homes and 3,000sqm of commercial space under council policy.

Developers say the exact number of homes has still to be confirmed while commercial space could include cafes, fitness suites, exhibition space as well as business space for the city’s growing digital sector.

Brighton-based architects Conran + Partners said their design built on the lessons of previous failed applications which tried to ape the seafront Regency style.

This time they have drawn inspiration from the red-brick homes of the area, in particular the Tile House in Preston Park, with a distinctive terracotta cladding chosen in preference to dark render which the architects said had proved unpopular elsewhere in the city.

The new plans are also designed to have the towers further away from residents at the rear of the development in Dyke Road Drive, who had complained that previous plans had been “overbearing”.

Kate Ives, First Base development director, said: “We are pleased with the feedback to date from residents which has expressed a strong desire to see Anston House developed.

"Our proposals for Anston House will deliver much needed homes, positively impact upon the local economy by unlocking local employment and commercial opportunities and improve the relationship with Preston Park."

A public consultation on the designs will be held on Wednesday, December 9 at St Luke’s Prestonville Church in Old Shoreham Road, Brighton, between 3pm and 8pm.