Shedding light on Magic Circle in Lewes

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A FIVE-year battle to have a piece of Lewes history restored has finally ended in victory.

The campaign to have the lights repaired at the so-called ‘Magic Circle’ below Lewes Castle was started by town councillor Ruth O’Keeffe.

But no-one would admit to owning the land or the lamps.

She was joined this year by fellow independent Stephen Catlin, who had the final piece of the jigsaw in place on Tuesday morning.

It was then that he received an email from the Freedom of Information section at East Sussex County Council.

It admitted that the council held a 1,000-year lease on the site, including The Maltings car park.

Until then the land had been the subject of a battle of denial between the county council and Lewes District Council, said Cllr Catlin.

Now the county has accepted responsibility for the lighting and repairs would be put in hand.

“For years, this area has been unlit and had become a hazard for users of the car park,” said Cllr Catlin.

Cllr O’Keeffe said: “No-one wanted to accept responsibility for what would have been a very low level of expenditure to make the area safer.”

Now it is hoped the Friends of Lewes may start fund-raising to restore the whole area, which once included a fountain and stone seating.

Historically, the Magic Circle had been the ornamental garden of Castlegate House while The Maltings car park had been its vegetable patch.