Ex-Pink Floyd guitarist to rescue derelict listed building

The former Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and his wife, the author Polly Samson, are set to give a derelict historic building a new lease of life by converting it into a luxury home.

The couple were given the building for free by a local developer who was frustrated in his attempts to gain permission to knock it down and build a block of flats.

The 120-year-old three-storey building, called Medina House, is believed by local historians to be the last architectural remnant of Brighton and Hove’s past as a renowned medicinal saltwater-bathing destination. The seafront property has been threatened with demolition for the past 16 years. But, after being handed over by developer Sirus Taghan on the proviso that the couple retain it, it looks set to get a reprieve.

Taghan walked away from it after seeing 20 planning applications refused, handing away a property potentially worth many thousands for nothing.

The building is close to Gilmour and Samson’s Grade II-listed five-storey home by the sea. The musician also has an adjoining underground studio where he recorded part of his latest album this year.

An unexploded second world war bomb was uncovered during building works at the rear of the couple’s house in May 2012.

David Gilmour backstage at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

David Gilmour backstage at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Taghan said he was first approached by the couple six years ago who wanted to convert the property into a spa but he was not ready to sell at the time. He said he decided to walk away from the project after his latest plans for a four-storey block of eight flats were rejected in March.

Taghan said: “I realised I was just going over the same old route, just doing it again and again. I think at the start, I never realised that there were so many people opposed to my ideas. If people don’t want something exciting on the seafront, then I have to walk away from it.

“It’s like a baby, if you have to give it away, you’re not going to sell it are you? You can’t put a price on that. Six years ago they were interested in turning it into a spa in there but now they are more interested in making a family home for themselves.”

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