Plan to change use of Hastings building to ‘attract occupants’

Lacuna Place, in Hastings
Lacuna Place, in Hastings

A planning application to change the use of part of a vacant building in Hastings town centre has been submitted to the council.

The proposal is for the change of use to a section of the ground floor of Lacuna Place, in Havelock Road, which has been vacant since 2008.

The applicant SHW – an independent property real estate advisory business – ‘seeks to provide optimal marketability, inclusive to a diverse range of prospective occupiers’.

In its application, SHW said it ‘aims to bring the vacant unit into life by providing the space with flexible marketability’.

The proposal includes a number of different proposed uses for the building, which SHW said would ‘greatly assist’ the marketability of the building in the search for an occupier.

The application also mentions the possibility of outside seating to both Havelock Road and Priory Square.

SHW added: “This is a generous space for a town centre location which has been severely underutilised for over a decade.

“The proposal is for the change of use to and existing unit that has been vacant for over 10 years.

“The aim of the development is to enhance the building and its surrounding setting by means of attracting occupants to the ground floor unit. This in turn will provide life and footfall to the street.”

The ground floor of Lacuna Place has remained vacant since it was built in 2008.

In April 2019, Hastings Borough Council bought the building for £9.4 million and employed SHW as the acquiring agent.

The office accommodation in Lacuna Place is let to the Department for Work and Pensions until 2033, and the majority of the ground floor is let to Tesco Stores Ltd until 2024.

In April, council leader Peter Chowney, said purchasing the building would create additional jobs and improve that part of Havelock Road.

A council spokesperson said: “When we bought the building, we planned to make it more marketable by increasing flexibility of use, and that is why we have applied for planning permission.”