An eyesore property in the heart of Brighton has been restored and is expected to be let soon to tenants.
The Victorian house at 8 Pool Valley has been empty since 1995 with squatters occupying it a number of times.
Brighton and Hove City Council said that its conservation team and empty properties team had worked together to transform what had been a longstanding problem.
Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “Over the years this property has presented a poor first impression of the city to visitors arriving at the coach station and its condition has gradually deteriorated.
“Now, thanks to the co-ordinated efforts of teams across the council, from housing to environmental health, planning and conservation, they have been able to work with the owners to bring this fine building back into use and considerably improve the appearance of this public area.”
The front was boarded over in 2004 after the front bay of the building became dangerous and was removed for safety reasons.
However, since 2003, the empty properties team has worked continually with the previous owner of this property offering help, assistance and guidance to bring it back into use.
In line with the council’s current empty property strategy, this included offering possible grant funding, help with addressing environmental health issues and guidance and liaison with the council’s planners.
At the same time the conservation team used powers available under planning law to require the carrying out of repair and redecoration works.
The council said: “This intervention ultimately resulted in planning permission being granted in 2008 to convert the upper floors into much needed residential accommodation with a retail outlet at ground floor level.
“Following a further period of inaction by the owner, the consideration of formal enforcement action finally led to a change of ownership.
“Since then the conservation team has worked with the new owner to fully restore the building to its Victorian splendour.
“The Empty Property Team will continue to remain in close contact with the new owner to monitor the completion of the works.”