The owner of a derelict seafront hostel has denied claims the building is about to collapse.

Hostel Point, in Grand Junction Road, Brighton, gradually fell into disrepair before shutting entirely in 2019.

A number of planning applications that would have brought the Regency building back to life have been rejected meaning it has continued to crumble, sparking fears for public safety.

“I walked past the hostel yesterday and the front of the building seems to be seriously sinking, and it has a really buckled look to it,” one person told The Argus.

The Argus: The current condition of grounds surrounding the building has sparked safety fearsThe current condition of grounds surrounding the building has sparked safety fears (Image: Andrew Gardner)

“I wonder if the whole building will collapse and if the owners are planning to fix it beyond the use of temporary support or if the building poses any risk to residents?”

But the new owners, brothers Ben and Matt Coleman, say they are already putting in the hours to stop Hostel Point falling further into disrepair.

A significant part of the design is to reinstate seven bedroom windows in the basement which were previously boarded up.

“We took away some plasterboard from the windows and the timber was completely rotten,” Ben said.

The Argus: One of the holes leading from the street into the basementOne of the holes leading from the street into the basement (Image: Andrew Gardner)

It means there are now two large holes leading from the pavement outside into the basement.

“We don’t believe that the building is subsiding as such, we just know that practices that aren’t standard have been applied and we don’t know why, so we decided to put the supports in,” Ben added.

“After being in the game for many years, you know not to leave these gaps open. It would have been fine without the supports.”

A large amount of concrete was discovered in the basement of the building and while its exact function is unknown, there is some exciting speculation growing among the developers.

The Argus: Metal supports have been put in the holes since work beganMetal supports have been put in the holes since work began (Image: Andrew Gardner)

Ben said that he was told by someone who worked in the building during the 1980s that the concrete was used to seal up an underground tunnel which ran from the basement to the beach – though this has not been confirmed.

Keeping the history of the Grade II-listed building alive is important to the brothers, they said. While a name has not yet been confirmed they are considering calling it the Palace Hostel after its name in 1911 – The Palace Pier Hotel.

Plans would see alterations to the layouts of the basement and ground floors while floors two, three and four would remain unchanged, to accommodate 92 beds spread over a combination of 34 single, double, single bunk and single bunk with double rooms.

The Argus: The building is boarded up and crumblingThe building is boarded up and crumbling (Image: Andrew Gardner)

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Workers are ready to begin renovations “as soon as the application is granted”, said Ben, who hopes the hostel will be opening for guests by summer 2024.

In a separate application, Ben and Matt, who also own a hostel in Milton Keynes, want to create a rooftop bar on the building for guests and the public, though the idea has received fierce criticism from people living in the surrounding areas who say their privacy will be invaded.

Decisions on both applications are yet to be made.