LETTER: A degree of conflict was bound to arise

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It comes as no surprise that some of your readers are already drawing attention to the car parking problems attributable to the newly-opened Premier Inn Hotel in Lewes.

Some degree of conflict in demand for the limited spaces in the shoppers’ car park adjacent to the hotel was bound to arise, and was foreseen very early on in the planning application process by those objecting to the proposals.

Unfortunately the application was dealt with and decided upon by the South Downs National Park Authority, not Lewes District Council, as a major planning matter.

Had it been decided locally, more weight might have been given to the car parking implications.

In the event, the South Downs Planning Committee were content to rely upon no more than the nebulous prospect of a multi-storey public car park envisaged but not at that stage formally approved as part of the North Street scheme for future comprehensive redevelopment. This was a serious flaw in the approval process for the Premier Inn.

The fact is, however, that it is now the policy of that organisation not to propose any parking for their development proposals, but to impose themselves as legitimate users of existing public parking facilities, avoiding any implications thereto.

As regards the small former Magistrates Court car park across the road, again there has been avoidance of any implications of beneficial use in that respect by simply omitting that site from the hotel application and treating it as if there were no connection with the changed status of the Magistrates former site. Again, approval for housing on this ancillary parking area has been given by the South Downs Authority, in a separate and unconnected way.

One is left with the feeling, if not conclusion, that the uppermost considerations have been the commercial aspects, as against any element of established local concerns.

Michael Parfect,

Cranedown, Lewes