Former Westcliff art gallery building up for sale

The former Beecroft Art Gallery, which was once set to be transformed into artist studios, has been put up for sale for £1million.

In 2018 Neobard Burnson Architects were appointed to transform the gallery in Station Road, Westcliff into a complex of artists’ studios after the Beecroft Trust attracted £495,000 funding from Arts Council England.

A further £80,000 funding was pledged by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Foyle Foundation but the work never got underway and all funding was returned.

The landmark Edwardian building opposite the Cliffs Pavilion has fallen into a state of disrepair since its 2013 closure and is now deemed too costly to renovate.

The three-storey building is set in a conservation area but is not listed.

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said: “The building has been empty for a considerable number of years now and over that time it has sadly fallen into some decay.

“It was decided that whatever decision was made going forward the council should have the first look at it to if we could use it. It’s not fit for artist studios and we couldn’t usefully do anything with it without huge expense.”

The Beecroft art collection is now housed in the former library in Victoria Avenue.

Cllr Mulroney added: “I don’t know why the artist studios didn’t go forward as that was under a different administration but I imagine it was a financial decision.

“We haven’t lost the Beecroft. We have a substantial collection in the new gallery and any money from the sale will be ploughed into that.”

The Beecroft is being sold by Dedman Gray and is advertised for refurbishment or conversion.

Mike Gray, director of Dedman Gray, said: “This is a good time to have seen the former Beecroft Art Gallery come to market.

“It is a prime property sitting there in need of refurbishment.

“Early inquirers are asking questions about various uses and it would be wonderful to see this particular building restored to its former glory.

“It has been found to be surplus to requirement by the trust and we look forward to finding a suitable purchaser to take this high profile building forward.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter