A long-running planning dispute over the demolition of a protected building is on course to be resolved.

Brighton and Hove City Council has recommended the redevelopment of 5-6 Western Road, Hove, be given retrospective planning permission after a three-year fight.

In 2001, owner Mehrvad Nikkah Eshgi was granted permission to convert the former restaurant and gentleman's club, which is in the Brunswick conservation area.

But four years later the structure was virtually demolished and rebuilt as a four-storey building including six flats, ground floor bar and basement nightclub.

Two bids for retrospective planning permission were dismissed by the council after the developer claimed the building had collapsed and had to be reworked for structural reasons.

The last application was rejected in February 2007 and a month later an enforcement notice was issued demanding the building be demolished and the original structure recreated.

Mr Eshgi appealed and although the Government planning inspector found the development was illegal, he dismissed the council's demand for a replica of the old building.

A new planning application was then submitted for retrospective permission and after months of negotiations between officers and the owners, the council's planning committee is being recommended to approve the plan, subject to 26 conditions.

If agreed, the developer will have to remove a controversial ramp in next door Farman Street, replace the unauthorised shop front and change the UPVC windows for timber sliding sash.

Neighbours and ward councillors have fought the unauthorised construction work on site, complaining about the loss of a historic building and the intrusive ramp.

Lib Dem councillor Paul Elgood said that many now believed the proposal was acceptable.

He said: "The scheme that was first submitted was totally unacceptable but the officers have done a good job and are recommending something much better.

"It is not perfect but it is definitely in the right direction and it is now down to detail."

In the report to the planning committee, which will meet next Wednesday, officers say: "The remedial works hereby granted would in their entirety restore an unauthorised building to an acceptable standard having particular regard to the visual amenities of the premises within the Brunswick Town Conservation Area."

Planning agents for the developer were unavailable for comment.