It’s gone from a rock star’s hotel of choice to a run-down, abandoned horror, but new life could be breathed into a prominent building in downtown Sandown. The Esplanade Hotel on the High Street has stood empty for years, but plans have been unveiled, by Plaza Property Developments, to turn the block of buildings into 20 apartments – 14 for residential use and six for self-catering.
In 1970, when it was the Seagrove Hotel, Jimi Hendrix stayed the night before his famous Isle of Wight Festival. The building has had a checkered history since then, with the hotel being last used as budget accommodation before being sold to its current owners three years ago.
Although under new ownership since 2019, the hotel was already in a state of disrepair and therefore has not reopened since. Now a “friendly conversion” is planned, BCM agents say on behalf of the applicants, as the hotel is in need of major renovations and repairs.
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Planning documents, submitted to Isle of Wight Council, indicate that maintenance and overhead costs for Victorian buildings are extremely high and that lower floors have recently been removed due to a leak from a water reservoir. Turning part of the hotel into residential use will help fund the renovations, according to BCM, by updating the dated interior and improving the exterior.
Officers say the amount of work required to restore the building would in most cases lead to its demolition, but the owner considers it viable to retain and improve it, again making it an asset to the conservation area. Traditional exterior details would be retained where possible and each block of the building would be finished in different pastel or neutral colours.
The majority of apartments would be two bedded, some with balconies, but all with sea views over the Sandown Esplanade. You can view the plans, 22/00660/FUL, on the Isle of Wight Council’s planning register. Comments can be submitted until July 15.