Lewes Phoenix group seeks financial help for vision

Phoenix industrial estate, Lewes know by some as 'The Phoenix Quarter'
Phoenix industrial estate, Lewes know by some as 'The Phoenix Quarter'

The Lewes Phoenix Rising group has launched an appeal for cash support as it seeks to help frame the future of North Street.

The group needs to fund a financial plan and business strategy for the area.

Lewes Phoenix Rising Ltd is a community-led, not-for-profit, development company. It was established earlier this year with the intention of ensuring that plans by Santon and Lewes District Council to redevelop the Phoenix Estate – aka the North Street Quarter – provide genuine, sustainable, community benefit for the town and district.

It has three main goals:

ETo provide 40 per cent of the housing as adaptable, well-designed new homes at social and affordable rents;

ETo provide suitable, substantial and affordable workshop space to save some of the jobs and businesses under threat. There are currently 50 businesses (including 85 workshops and 13 venues), providing 450 jobs. The vast majority have nowhere to go if the site is demolished;

ETo develop the site ethically and sustainably: renovate, infill and adapt the existing warehouses of the old Phoenix Ironworks for workshops and enterprises; and provide a complete reappraisal of the flood management strategy, looking to flood resilience rather than defence.

Over the past four months, the Lewes Phoenix Rising team has produced an Outline Development Plan; surveyed all businesses on the estate; made representations on the Local Plan of the Lewes District Council Core Strategy; established an internationally respected team of consultants; and publicised and campaigned.

As a result, Lewes Phoenix Rising, Santon and the district council have agreed to explore the possibility of working together, with the aim of developing a mutually acceptable outline planning application.

For this process to be successful, Lewes Phoenix Rising now has to put together a comprehensive acquisition strategy and business plan for the part of the site it wishes to develop and for the build and management of the Phoenix Workshops and affordable housing.

Directors said: “The next stage of this process will take a huge amount of work and research. While the Lewes Phoenix Rising Team and consultants have been working pro bono for the last four months, and many will continue to do so or at reduced rates – we now need funds to develop our plans and continue the necessary publicity and campaigning. We are therefore seeking financial donations as well as applying for grants.”