Design changes to Premier Inn proposed for Lewes

Friars walk
Friars walk

Significant design changes have been made to the proposed Premier Inn in Lewes.

They range from the style of architecture to the choice of materials for the building.

Developer Quora is seeking to demolish the existing former Magistrates’ Court in Friars Walk and replace it with the budget hotel, which would incorporate retail outlets.

The changes have been made in response to the public consultation process and reviews with designers and other local authority officers.

London-based Juice Architects said the scheme has evolved to reflect comments made to refine the design,

Jason Davis, a director at Quora, said: “Our team has worked extremely hard to respond to the various comments made in respect of the original design of our proposals. It is always extremely difficult to strike a balance to satisfy as many views as possible when dealing with such a subjective issue as design. We have tried to incorporate many changes whilst maintaining the integrity of the design and the commercial and leisure nature of the proposals. I am sure we will not be able to please everyone but hopefully the efforts that have been made will be recognised.

“There were a wide range of opinions expressed from local residents, interest groups, South Downs National Park officers and the Design Review Panel.

“We have listened and where possible made changes. These include, amongst others, a more traditional design, vertical articulation, the use of traditional materials – including the use of hung slate tiles to replace timber cladding, local brickwork and traditional ‘mathematical’ tiles, both smaller in size and a lighter colour. We have amended the various elevations, including crucially the corner of Friars Walk and Court Road. We have also included more traditional shop fronts at the ground floor.

“We would like to thank everyone who has made an effort to comment on our proposals and we will continue to review all views as matters progress.”

Juice Architects said some key amendments are:

EFriars Walk Corner – to enliven the corner the architects have changed the design to adapt the upper storey bay proportions and ground floor shop windows.

This has resulted in the corner being fully glazed at ground floor as opposed to the solid panel screening the escape stair and balanced symmetrical bays to the upper storeys at the corner.

EParapet to Friars Walk – it was considered better to make the actual parapet cap over the whole façade more prominent, creating a more consistent appearance. The plant enclosure and access have been amended.

EModulation of windows to upper level – the first floor windows are of a height similar to the windows of the Victorian terrace running along Friars Walk and the second storey windows have been reduced in height to ‘reflect’ the change of window height to the upper windows of the Victorian terrace.

The height differential is less pronounced than the terrace but nonetheless is subtly reflected in this manner.

There has been a lot of debate about the use of timber or not on the building, Juice said.

While it is a robust natural material with excellent ‘green credentials’ there has been concern over the use on the building in combination with the glazed tiles and brick.

Juice has therefore proposed using natural slate as tile hanging instead of the timber.

Tile hanging is more characteristic of Lewes in its various formats and this change follows that theme.

The tiles will be hung in the traditional method which compliments the timber framing of the building but will be sized to reflect the glazed tiles on the front giving a consistency of detail .