An 18th century mansion in a national park could be brought back to life as a business centre and community hub.

Grade II* listed Patcham Place in Preston Road, Brighton, has been empty since 2007 when the Youth Hostel Association’s lease expired.

Its owners Brighton and Hove City Council is about to sign off the lease to the site for 125 years to an unnamed firm.

The deal, for an unspecified sum believed to be about £1 million, will see the building used as offices. There will also be space to encourage smaller firms and rooms to rent to the community.

Finance cabinet member Jason Kitcat said: “I'm delighted we've been able to move forward quickly on dealing with this site.

“It’s vital to keep getting sites such as this into use while releasing much needed funds for the council.”

The building and its 1.7-acre site, which is in the South Downs National Park, was put on the market by the council in June.

Ideas for the landmark building, which has been valued at about £1.8 million, initially included luxury apartments and office space.

The local authority said it received 170 enquiries from sectors including residential, commercial, leisure, education, community and arts.

After showings in October, three bids were submitted and the local authority is set to agree the handing over of the site to its preferred bidder at a meeting on Thursday.

Town hall papers show the building will take between £1 million and £2 million to bring back into use.

The preferred bid will see the firm create office space for local jobs and the dilapidated building restored with renewable energy used where possible.

Conference and meeting space will be provided while an area will be put aside for small and medium enterprises, such as those in eco-tourism and digital media, to use the site on reduced rents.

Town hall papers added that the building would also be used for young people to attend arts events while workshop space would be set aside for apprentices and offenders to learn skills and trades.