Lewes Magistrates’ Court site - Quora frugal with the facts?

I noted in your 28 November edition an article by a Quora spokesperson (Mr Ben Ellis or member of his PR team?) asserting that Quora have the sole option to buy and demolish the Magistrates’ Court, Lewes, as they have entered into a contract with the Ministry of Justice (M0J).

Surely that contract cannot be open-ended because the MoJ has a duty to sell the property so that taxpayers’ investment can be returned to the government? Furthermore, any contract must presumably be conditional upon Planning Permission for their proposed Premier Inn design being obtained from the South Downs National Park Authority Planning Committee which may consider this on 11 December? If such a condition was not included in the contract, then would not the MoJ be in dereliction of its duty to dispose of the property in a timely way?

Quora have been allowed nearly two years in which to come up with a design which will enhance the Conservation Area of our historic town. I assume that Quora cannot know in advance that Planning Permission will be obtained and if it is not, then the MoJ would surely embark on a new bidding process, in which case Mr Philip Gorringe’s bid and those of any other bidders will be considered.

A I Garritt

Lewes