New plan for Phoenix site in Lewes rises from the Ashes

Lewes got its first chance to see alternative development plans for the Phoenix Industrial Estate, proposed by local community developer, Lewes Phoenix Rising.
Lewes got its first chance to see alternative development plans for the Phoenix Industrial Estate, proposed by local community developer, Lewes Phoenix Rising.

Alternative development plans for the Phoenix Industrial Estate were revealed to Lewes by a community developer on Friday.

A packed meeting had the first view of the community-led proposals drawn up by developer Lewes Pheonix Rising.

The plan includes renovating the Phoenix Ironworks to create a 3.5 acre development of ‘genuinely affordable’ housing, workspace and room for community enterprise.

The meeting was attended by more than 50 representatives from Lewes Town Council and District Council, the South Downs National Park, plus residential, environmental and community groups.

The 14-acre Phoenix Estate is currently set to be developed by owners Santon and Lewes District Council. Santon’s proposals included building 397 homes, an underground car park, a health centre and a small creative hub.

Lewes Phoenix Rising argued these plans fail to meet Lewes’s need for genuinely affordable housing.

There is little accommodation for the 50 businesses and cultural, social and educational enterprises currently on the estate, the group warns.

In a presentation, Lewes Phoenix Rising showed by increasing proposed housing densities across the 14-acre site, it would be possible to allocate land for development of the ironworks buildings, dubbed ‘Phoenix Place’.

Phoenix Rising is calling for this area to be held for community benefit ‘in perpetuity’.

Chelsea Renton, co-founder and director, said: “We fully acknowledge the burden on Lewes District Council to build 400 new homes on the Phoenix Estate site.

“Our plans show by increasing housing densities, it would be possible to do this.

“Yet there could still be room to use the iconic Phoenix Ironworks, and the space around it, to create much-needed space for employment plus an additional 45 one- and two-bedroom homes and work/live spaces, available at social rents.

“Increasing housing densities also creates a much more sustainable development that’s in keeping with the medieval townscape of Lewes.

“It enables people to live and work in the same area and creates a community of vibrant interaction – rather than a surburban cul-de-sac.

“We hope both Santon and Lewes District Council will see how our plan could create real community benefit and in turn add value to the whole development.

“We look forward to discussing how all three parties can work together to make this happen.”

Renovation of Ironworks to create a development of affordable housing, workspace, areas for social, educational and cultural enterprise; 45 additional socially-rented work-live units and 1-2 bedroom apartments; 6,800 sqm for workspace and community enterprise; higher housing densities to ensure no net loss of housing across the wider site and a more vibrant and sustainable development

Roadshow: Sat Dec 6 Lewes House, 11am-3pm; Sun 7 Malling Community Centre 12pm-3pm; Mon 8 St Mary’s Church Hall 5pm-9pm; Wed 10 Linklater Pavilion 5pm-9pm; Fri 12 Landport Community Centre 5pm-9pm.

Find out more at the Lewes Phoenix Rising website