I welcome the prospect of the North Street Quarter being developed and seeing this part of Lewes come to life.
Unfortunately, it appears that Santon have not had the courage to see this as the world class opportunity it is. Grab it with both hands and come up with a design that meets such a challenge.
Santon’s considerable efforts to find a way of satisfying all the commercial, social and aesthetic demands made of them, seem to have resulted in a design by committee, characterised by compromise, rather than excellence.
The buildings in the development that reference Lewes’s past as a port and as the location of a foundry are throwaway design features that are neither functional (other than for PR purposes) nor attractive. ‘Affordable Housing’ is a misnomer and consequently similarly irrelevant. Possible exacerbation of congestion at Cuilfail Tunnel and Ashcombe Roundabout isn’t something that seems to have been resolved.
Large scale retail units may be necessary, but the NSQ designs make Tesco on the other side of the river seem a prizeworthy comparison. The scale and design of the retail buildings proposed by Santon are monolithic and conventional as well as being out of keeping with the scale and character of the historic core of the town.
Lewes is proven to be both unique and attractive, given the number of visitors it receives and the cost of local housing. Additional housing and jobs would be welcome, one that could do this and enhance the town so as to bring in more business, even more so. I can’t yet see how this development will enhance the town and give Lewes an ‘edge’ over other significant European tourist destinations, let alone genuinely provide additional local housing and jobs for those who need them.
I’m hoping someone will convince me otherwise.
Independent Lewes Town and District Councillor