Society takes a stand on Lewes plan

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The South Downs Society has formally opposed plans to develop the North Street Quarter in Lewes.

In its official response to the South Downs National Park Authority, the society recommends the planning application, submitted jointly by Santon and Lewes District Council, for refusal.

The report states: “The society, in commenting on the original application, welcomed the proposed mixed-use development, the planned variety in housing, the flood protection measures and associated riverside walkway, and the planned improvements to local transport infrastructure - but this support was conditional.In particular, we expressed our concern about the affordability of the planned housing, the continuing deficiencies in the proposed contribution to the Lewes townscape, the failure to recognise the contribution being made by small businesses currently on site, and the lack of consideration given to the heritage value of elements of the former Every ironworks. We have considered the amendments to the application in the light of these concerns and find only modest improvement.

“The application should be refused for the following reasons:The application fails to recognise and preserve the cultural heritage asset of the Every ironworks in any meaningful way. The application fails to support the economic prosperity of this area of the South Downs National Park by making appropriate arrangements to conserve a vibrant enterprise hub that has grown organically and makes a significant contribution to the social and economic wellbeing of the local community.The opportunity to redesign and relocate housing uses to more appropriate locations has not been taken – in particular to provide an interesting outlook with manageable landscaping to the care home and better locating the affordable housing nearer to the existing Pells Play area. The tension between economies of scale and creating an intricate and stimulating environment still exist.”

The planning application will be considered at a meeting of the South Downs National Park Authority’s planning committee at County Hall, Lewes, on December 10. The application and all its associated documents, including the full report from the South Downs Society, can be viewed online under application number SDNP/15/01146.

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