A group which supports affordable housing for Lewes people has spoken out in favour of the controversial Santon North Street scheme.
Lewes Community Land Trust welcomed the planning application for the Phoenix Industrial Estate in North Street and said it was talking to Santon to provide homes on the site which would be developed exclusively to meet the housing needs of local people.
The Lewes CLT is part of The National Community Land Trust Network, which is a movement to support community led housing.
Pru Rowntree, chair of the Community Land Trust Network, said: “We want this development proposal to maximise the delivery of wider community benefit, through provision of affordable housing and workspace for local people. We believe that the proposed plans will deliver this.
“The proposals are environmentally sensitive in terms of architecture and streetscape.
“The development will provide the necessary infrastructure – flood defences for The Pells as well as North Street, parking space, road development – to support existing town facilities as well as the new development.
“We therefore feel that it makes sense for us to work in partnership with Santon to deliver affordable housing and workspace for the community.”
The Lewes Community Land Trust has been involved in the pre planning consultation process through the sounding group, which met under the leadership of Lewes Town Partnership, including Friends of Lewes and Lewes Chamber of Commerce.
Ros Brewer, secretary of the Lewes CLT, said: “We aim to build homes that people can afford and will always be able to afford.”
A spokesperson for Lewes Phoenix Rising said: “Lewes Phoenix Rising is fully supportive of the CLT’s attempts to ensure Santon deliver genuinely affordable housing – and have been informed that they are discussing the provision of around 12 units.
“We will continue to seek many more as, though these 12 units are welcome, they will barely scratch the surface in terms of the desperate need for homes in Lewes for local people.
“We will also press for a robust Section 106 agreement, without which we fear such promises could well be watered down. We would urge people to join the CLT, which is a small organisation that would benefit from representation from businesses on North Street and the views of the wider town.”