Lewes Green Party has written to the South Downs National Park Authority to strongly object to the new proposal to demolish the former Magistrates’ Court building in Lewes and replace it with a Premier Inn and retail units.
The party is concerned that the development has the potential to damage – maybe even put out of business – existing local and independent traders from B&Bs and pubs to small retailers.
Cllr Susan Murray said: “These are the reason people come to visit Lewes and we need to build on this special quirky quality of our town to keep it vibrant not make it like anywhere in the UK by introducing a bland chain hotel that would undercut local businesses and source its supplies from elsewhere rather than from the local economy.
“The proposal promises inward investment, and jobs, the assumption being that money will improve the area, eventually ‘trickling down’ to those that need it. However, the new hotel and retail centre may increase footfall and money spent, but Lewes will see little of it. It will flow straight out again to head offices and shareholders.
“Parking is difficult in Lewes and we are appalled that the developers appear to believe that customers could just park in the existing - very heavily used - public car park. No permission for a hotel should be given without a cast-iron guarantee that separate parking provision will be made.”
Lewes Green Party had great concerns about moving vast amounts of rubble and debris from the existing building.
Cllr Murray said: “Local people have had insufficient opportunity to find alternative, locally run uses for the existing building. Permission to demolish should be withheld until there has been suitable local consultation on the possibilities.”