Is the monstrosity that is the former Lewes Magistrates’ Court building really part of our culture?

I don’t think Lewes has been let down by the South Downs National Park Authority - nor do I think that any aims have been flouted. (“Town has been let down” - “Flouting aims, etc.” Express, December 26).

It is frankly laughable that an ‘eighties monstrosity like the redundant court building in Friars Walk should be considered part of our “cultural heritage”! It’s an hideous carbuncle of the first order and simply not worth keeping. If Lewes had any real concern for good architecture, then the building would have been flattened already with extreme prejudice. Hard to believe that anyone might seriously suggest it to be worth keeping - it was a criminally ugly building when it was first built, it has not weathered at all well and it remains abominably ugly now.

I have no doubt that some of the people keen to keep the “old” Magistrates’ Court were also desperate for Lewes to be part of the South Downs National Park, if only for financial reasons inextricably linked to increased tourist footfall. Besides, Lewes is not “encased by the Park” - it squats on the edge of it.

So when the National Park Authority approves a scheme that will provide more budget-range visitor beds for the town, surely anyone other than those with a vested interest in the status quo should be all for it? But no; this is Lewes, so it was expected by some that the town should be automatically granted a place at the heart of the National Park despite doing nothing much to deserve it. Nor should it expect to have to abide by the Park Authority’s decisions either - if it wasn’t thought up here, we don’t want it, basically. Wun’t be druv and all that - we want something else altogether that’s oh so typically Lewes - something green, flaky and unachievable that someone else should pay for, yah boo sucks!

As for it taking 18 months to demolish? Well, I doubt that very much. If there is money to be made, then it won’t take anything like that long to demolish and rebuild anew. Unless, of course, Susan Murray does an Arthur Dent and lies down in the mud in front of the bulldozer to hold things up. (Now there’s an idea - the developers could raffle off tickets for the driving seat and cover a lot of their costs.)

Some people in Lewes should be more careful what they wish for. You’re in the National Park now, at your own petulant demand. Don’t you think that you should have the grace to abide by the rules and accept decisions made in good faith by those who have the larger picture of the whole of the South Downs in view - and not just your own self-obsessed little corner of it?

Clive Hobden

Ringmer

charity