A listed building in the heart of Brighton is being turned back into offices after a ruling by an independent planning inspector.
Baron Homes has been ordered to make good the Grade II listed building at 8 Pavilion Parade in the Old Steine in Brighton.
The property company converted the five-storey building into seven flats without planning permission.
The company applied for retrospective permission but Brighton and Hove City Council rejected the application.
It said that Baron Homes had not proved that the office space was redundant in line with planning policy.
Baron Homes appealed and lost.
In March the council issued an enforcement notice because Baron Homes had still not started to turn the building back into offices.
Baron Homes appealed against the enforcement notice and lost again.
Planning inspector Graham Self ordered Baron Homes to pay the council’s costs.
He said: “There is a public interest in maintaining a supply of office space in the centre of Brighton.”
The council said that Baron Homes had now stopped using the building for residential use.
Councillor Lynda Hyde, chairman of the council’s planning committee, said: “I am pleased that the persistence of the council’s officers has paid off in this case and that taxpayers will not have to pick up the bill.
“It was never proved that office space is redundant in the area.
“Our policies are there to protect the long-term need for office space that will generate employment in the future.
“Indeed, the inspector noted that this is a prime location and there are other office premises in the same terrace.
“These situations can be avoided and we would urge property owners to take advantage of our free advice service and secure planning permission before they start work.”
Eight years ago the company converted Princes House – the former Norwich Union head office – in North Street, Brighton, into 34 flats.
Baron Homes director Michael Blencowe was not available for comment.