Controversial plan for 79 homes is given the green light

Southdowns Road, Lewes. Photo courtesy of Google Maps Street View. SUS-150821-101007001
Southdowns Road, Lewes. Photo courtesy of Google Maps Street View. SUS-150821-101007001

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) has approved controversial plans for 79 new homes on a former landfill site in Lewes.

The authority’s planning committee approved the application for 79 new residential dwellings in Southdowns Road, Lewes, alongside commercial floor space, associated parking, landscaping and open spaces.

Many concerns have been expressed about the proposed development, including the fact it is in an area prone to flooding and on land that could be contaminated.

Town and District Councillor Daisy Cooper, who represents the Lewes Bridge Ward in which the application falls, submitted her objections to the SDNPA, stating: “I object strongly to the application on the following grounds:

“The South Downs National Park’s mandate is to ‘preserve and enhance’ the area. This development would not do this.

“The impact and size of the four-storey buildings is totally inappropriate in this area. They are not designed in the context of the surrounding houses and area. There are not enough affordable homes in the proposal.

“The Poplar Trees should not be felled. They block sound from the flyover for existing residents and, as I understand, were planted by way of commemorating a member of the community. They therefore have a cultural significance in the community.”

Lewes Town Council also objected to the application, stating: “There were criticisms of the scale, size, poor aesthetic design and detailing, and the removal of trees along Blake’s Walk was deplored. This was considered a poorly-considered over-development, and was thought to be at odds with the local plan. The impact upon the local area was unacceptable, and there were concerns regarding the treatment of gas emissions from contaminated land.”

A spokesperson for the Friends of Lewes said: “The Friends of Lewes Society agrees this site should be developed. However, it is disappointed at the low level of affordable housing planned and believe this is a missed opportunity to significantly contribute to meeting the demand for this type of housing in this town.”

The South Downs National Park Authority approved the application with conditions. At the time of writing, the authority had not confirmed to the Sussex Express what the conditions involved.

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