Developer Quora has hit back at criticism of the latest Premier Inn scheme for the former Magistrates’ Court in Lewes.
It has expressed concern that some local people fail to see “the many benefits” the investment will bring to the town and are still debating points that have already been agreed, when they could be helping to shape the final design of the scheme.
The plan is to demolish the current court building and replace it with a 59-bed hotel and retail outlets.
A Quora spokesperson said: “We know some objections have been made on the mix of uses proposed.
“We have frequently confirmed that the principle of development including the mix of uses was agreed at last year’s planning committee. We understand that, as we suggested, some local people have now clarified this with the South Downs National Park Authority.
“The demolition of the existing building is acceptable, subject to an agreed design. On this basis, we are proactively working with local groups to take listen to feedback and agree the design.
“We welcome any comments on design from local people and will be distributing a leaflet this weekend with details of the latest proposal and a freepost response form.
“We hope this encourages supporters and objectors to engage with us and play their part in delivering a design to be proud of.”
New computer generated images, highlighting how the proposed new development in Friars Walk could look, have been released this week.
The new images, shown from the junction of Friars Walk and Court Road and from across the car park, bring the plans to life, said Quora, and highlight how the new design and choice of materials has already changed in response to feedback form the local community.
The major changes are as follows:
EThe new proposal is for a building with a smaller footprint than the previous application. This would create wider, more attractive walkways between the car park and precinct.
EThe building would be a mix of two bricks, with clay and slate tile hanging and glazed shop fronts. The proposed bricks are blue-grey in colour (similar to the old Wealden bricks) and a lighter coloured bricks to match those opposite the site.
EThe roof of the building would incorporate a number of pitched roofs and gables, to reflect the style of buildings locally. Some of the frontages of the building would be stepped back to give character.
EThe size of the windows around the building has been altered. They would vary in size and are generally bigger than previously proposed.
EShop entrances, glazing and canopies have been placed around the scheme to provide focal points and active frontage across the site.
The Quora spokesperson concluded: “We are a conscientious developer with links to the local area, so making the most of this town centre site and creating a development to be proud of is important to us too.
“The site’s town centre location provides an ideal location for retail development and a sustainable hotel.
“There can be little doubt that an investment of this size and nature will have a positive impact on Lewes town centre, improving shopping choice and providing much needed modern retail units and accommodation to attract businesses and visitors to the town, for the benefit of the town and its existing traders.”