Lewes Magistrates’ Court site - some relevant issues omitted

I was interested to read your articles about the proposed 118-bed Premier Inn to be built, subject to planning permission, in the Conservation Area of Lewes as some relevant issues were omitted.

1.The South Downs National Park Authority officers have recommended approval for this development, subject to planning permission, but many of the members of the Planning Committee have their reservations and have rejected it twice. The officers have now narrowed down the issues members will be voting for at their next meeting.

These are not whether the architects’ plans are suitable for a Conservation Area, or whether this large hotel is needed in this area, but are solely to do with the building materials used.

2. The SDNPA’s own dDesign oOfficer has criticised the Quora plans as being unsuitable for the area but his comments were not mentioned in your paper or included in the mMinutes of the last Planning Committee meeting which can be seen on the SDNPA website. Other critical comments from Planning Committee members concerned about the development were also not included in the SDNPA mMinutes.

3. There is no mention of the demolition work which will be involved. We have heard it will take 18 months for lorries to take rubble through the town’s narrow streets with all the disruption that will cause. The ESCC Highways Department has not so far revealed the route, and will not do so, they say, until nearer the time.

4. The Highways Department has approved parking arrangements. Yet, there are no parking facilities. The adjoining public car park is always full and if Premier Inn residents or staff need to come by car, where will they put them? Quora, the developers, have planned a space for 20 bicycles. Is this the way, one wonders, their guests will arrive?

5.If the SDNPA is looking for ‘best value practice’, which they seem legally obliged to do, surely they should be considering the bid made to the Ministry of Justice by Mr.

Philip Gorringe who would like to buy the building, convert it into flats for first time buyers, community arts studios and other community uses, maybe a cinema, small shops, etc.? And, most crucially, for the well being of the town, not demolish the building.

Angela Wigglesworth

Lewes