Former Co-op building gets new lease of life

Work has begun on converting on a town centre landmark into a 65-bed hotel.

The former Co-op on the corner of Trinity Trees and Terminus Road is to become a Premier Inn and is expected to be completed in May next year.

It will have hotel bedrooms on the upper floors while a coffee shop and a British Heart Foundation shop will open on the bottom.

Originally built in the 1930s, the Art Deco building operated as a shop and over the years Eastbourne’s residents had come to rely on the store for a wide range of goods from furniture to electrical appliances and clothes to curtains. It traded over four floors and at one point also sold food.

The store shut down in 2006 after the Co-operative Group announced poor trading performances and its 16 staff were offered redundancy packages.

Following a controversial battle between town planners and developers permission was given for it to be converted into a hotel and builders have begun the part refurbishment, part re-build project.

Project manager for Anglo Holt Malcolm Walasiewicz said, “The existing facade will remain. It is a very exciting redevelopment programme and everything is on target for completion in May.”

Residents living nearby have welcomed the builders. Ruth Turner, who lives in Trinity Place, said, “The building has been empty for seven years and it has been a real eyesore. I think it is going to be lovely when it is finished and we will enjoy it. It will make a huge difference to our lookout.”

During the refurbishment work builders uncovered some unusual artefacts and old photographs which will appear in Looking Back.