Campaigners call meeting on proposed hotel at Lewes Magistrates’ Court

Lewes Magistrates' Court.
Lewes Magistrates' Court.

Worried residents have called a public meeting to discuss the future of the former Magistrates’ Court site in Lewes.

Amended plans have been submitted for a 59-bed Premier Inn and retail outlets on the Friars Walk site.

Developer Quora’s scheme would involve demolition of the redundant court building.

The initial planning application was rejected by the South Down’s National Park Authority’s Planning Committee on the grounds of unsuitable design.

Opponents of the new bid say Quora will not be holding a public exhibtiion of the revised plans. “I think the residents of Lewes should have been given the opportunity of a public display and discussion on sunch an important site,” said Vic Ient, of the Save Lewes Architecture campaign.

“I asked the planning consultants working for Quora if they would hold a jmeeting but they refused. We believe the public should be able to see and discuss the plans.”

Save Lewes Architecture, working with the No To Premier Inn group, has set up the public meeting to discuss developments at The White Hart Hotel, Lewes, on Thursday (May 8) at 7pm. The campaign groups have asked Planning Potential, the planning consultants, to pass on invitations to Quora and Juice, the architects.

A Quora spokesperson said “Quora has repeatedly said they are happy to listen to views and take on board comments throughout the planning application process.

“The need for a new hotel and the principle of the development were approved last year and we are now focusing on agreeing the design of the scheme. The design has changed significantly to take on board feedback, reflect local architecture and enhance the look and feel of the building and surrounds. We hope local people will view the plans for themselves before drawing conclusions.

“We are consulting local people by meeting with local groups and other community representatives. An informative leaflet with a freepost feedback form will also be distributed to several thousand local homes in May.”