Public inquiry about scheme for 50 homes in Lewes


A public inquiry is being held in Lewes next week to determine the future of a scheme for more than 50 homes in the county town.

It will hear an appeal against refusal of planning permission on a site at Mayhew Way and South Downs Road.

The inquiry, at The White Hart Hotel (10am), will discuss the application by Mr Ray Charmak for 53 residential dwellings (C3) and 2,563sq m of commercial (B1) floorspace with associated parking, landscape and open space.

The original planning application for the development was both deferred and refused by the South Downs National Park Authority last year as residents, community groups and local councillors spoke out against the scheme on a wide ranging number of issues.

In April 2013 the SDNPA Planning Committee refused the planning application on the following grounds:

Firstly, “The development, by reason of its design and layout, does not respond appropriately to the context of this prominent site with regard to the proposed height, scale, massing and elevational treatments. This would result in harm to the character and appearance of Lewes and the landscape character of the South Downs National Park.”

And secondly, “The proposal, by reason of the mix of uses and the phasing of development, does not make provision for affordable housing” in accordance with the Lewes District Local Plan 2003.

Local resident and campaigner against the application, Matt Kent, has spoken publicly at both SDNPA Planning Committee meetings, and intends to speak again at the public inquiry, as local residents have continued to contact him about their concerns.

Of the forthcoming inquiry, Mr Kent said: “Local residents are still extremely concerned about the development.

“Fundamental concerns are very well documented as part of the planning process, and such concerns are held by the National Park planning committee, local councillors and residents alike.

“Although the time of the public inquiry is not ideal for everyone, I do encourage local residents, interest groups and councillors to attend and voice their opinion on the development.”

He continued: “Very few people are actually against a development on the site. What they are against is the sheer inappropriate scale, massing, material use, affordability, contamination issues and the impact on local traffic, schools, and given recent events, flooding.”