Is this the beginning of clone town Lewes?

Ironworks walk in the proposed North Street Quarter in Lewes.
Ironworks walk in the proposed North Street Quarter in Lewes.
  • Campaigners say the housing will not be genuinely affordable
  • Santon North Street says 40 per cent of the housing will be affordable
  • Phoenix Rising says the commercial space will not be suitable for most of the businesses at the estate

Campaigners fighting a major housing development in Lewes said the town has not been given enough time to comment on the scheme.

Lewes Phoenix Rising added there was not enough genuinely affordable housing and criticised the loss of the Phoenix Iron and Steelworks.

It said the commercial space would not be suitable for many of the businesses on the Phoenix Industrial Estate.

Phoenix Rising continued it set a dangerous precedent for Lewes heading down the road to becoming a clone town, with residents and workers being forced to leave.

But developer Santon North Street said of the 416 homes to be built, 165 (40 per cent) would be affordable and would include a mix of house types to meet local housing need, for families, elderly people and single young people.

The district council would hold 100 per cent of the nomination rights to the affordable homes and people local to Lewes would be given priority.

A survey and discussion review by Santon with many of its local tenants and sub tenants had informed the creative space incorporated into the planning application.

Director of Lewes Phoenix Rising, Andrew Simpson added: “This is an opportunity to create a place not only where people on ordinary incomes can afford to live but where Lewes’ rich variety of creative, cultural and manufacturing businesses can thrive.

“Right now, the opportunity to create a brilliant place to live and work is being seriously squandered – we are going to continue to campaign to get the development that Lewes deserves.”

A spokesperson for Santon North Street said: “We are committed to optimising the affordability of the 40 per cent affordable housing possible within the North Street Quarter scheme.

“Working together, Santon North Street and Lewes District Council, which is also the local housing authority, will make the most of any Government funding available at the time of delivering construction. Fifteen per cent of the open market housing is two-bedroom homes suitable for first time buyers, which will be offered to local buyers as a first priority.

“If available at the time this could be supported by a Government low deposit scheme such as Home Buy.”

But Phoenix Rising said the government standard was 80 per cent of market rent, which would result in a two bedroom flat being available for around £1,000 per month, which was not affordable to most people in Lewes.

Santon said the plan included 51 ‘extra care’ flats for older people.

The deadline for commenting on the scheme is April 6.

It also asked the planning authority to give residents 42 days instead of 21 to comment. Phoenix Rising said Santon had failed to provide the cost of the affordable housing and work space.

Phoenix Rising said just three of the 50 businesses surveyed were large enough to afford the proposed rents at Malling Brooks. Details of the affordable housing and creative workspace provision can be found at