Developers quell fire escape fears

Premier Inn, Lewes SUS-160217-225304008
Premier Inn, Lewes SUS-160217-225304008

Developers behind the new Premier Inn in Lewes has defended itself against claims a change in the plans has made the hotel less safe.

Michael Parfect, of Cranedown, has expressed his concern that one of the fire escape stairs previously included in the original permitted design of the hotel is now to be now omitted, in order for two extra bedrooms to be fitted in.

He said: “Why were these escape stairs included in a scheme that was finally approved via a rigorous planning process, only for them now to be deleted in favour of just two extra rooms in a hotel already designed for a large number of bedrooms, 61 from 59?

“The loss of a set of fire stairs giving reserve safety capacity to the hotel occupants may be permissible on paper but does not exactly inspire public confidence in a process that seems to have been guided more by development economics than anything else.

“This planning variation must cater for all possible situations that could arise, not only within a hotel containing a large measure of combustible partition walling but also as affecting historic buildings nearby, in particular the Grade 1 listed Fitzroy House.

“One would therefore urge the developers to think again about such issues in the public interest, and revert to the originally approved scheme before it is too late. The concerns at issue go well beyond the achievement of visually acceptable design proposals as an overriding consideration.”

A Quora spokesperson said: “We can confirm all aspects of our scheme fully comply with the planning consents issued and as amended, building regulations and, importantly, fire regulations.

“The latest amendments have been fully signed off by the County Fire Safety Officer who is a fully independent expert working with the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. Full details have been provided to SDNPA – as with all technical sign off procedures associated with the proposals.

“We have worked very closely with local groups and residents since we obtained consent. All have been very pragmatic, positive and have worked very hard to ensure the scheme is delivered with as little disruption as possible. This encompasses matters such as sample panels for materials, feedback from residents and detailed points on aspects of the construction.

“Indeed, we have been commended by local residents and by SDNPA officers for adopting such a positive approach to the demolition and construction of the scheme. The team have worked hard to show consideration and I believe they have proved themselves to be extremely professional throughout.

“We have been delighted by the positivity shown by so many people and we have attempted to respond likewise. This is evident in the public art competition run by the Liaison Group.

“The art can be seen on the hoardings and has received many compliments. We would like to thank all those who have taken such an interest and who have helped to move matters forward positively.

“The scheme is on track for completion in July this year and we are certain the community will be pleased with the quality of what will be an exciting contribution in the heart of the town.”

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at

2) Like our Facebook page at

3) Follow us on Twitter @sussex_express

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Sussex Express - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.