Lewes conservation group challenges appeal permitting ‘extremely inappropriate’ housing development

A conservation group in Lewes is challenging an appeal decision which gave the green light to an ‘extremely inappropriate’ housing development.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 3:29 pm
An artists' impression of the proposed development

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) refused planning permission for a ten-home development in Garden Street, near Lewes Station, in December 2018.

However a planning inspector overturned the decision on appeal, allowing it to go ahead.

The Lewes Conservation Area Advisory Group (LCAAG) is now seeking to challenge the appeal decision, claiming that statutory procedures were not properly followed.

Its claim for a Statutory Review of the appeal decision has been accepted by the Planning court and will be heard in due course.

The group is not opposed to homes being created at the disused auction galleries site, which once hosted the Lewes Fat-stock Market.

Anthony Dicks, chairman of LCAAG, said: “This classic brown-field site in the heart of the Town is an obvious choice for much-needed residential development with an option to create affordable homes for young Lewesians and key workers,

“Apart from its historic value, the Market Street site holds an important position in the townscape and deserves development of sufficiently high quality to enhance Lewes’ Conservation Area.”

However the group said the scheme put forward by Quantum Homes – which consists of two apartments, four three-bed houses and four four-bed houses – was ‘extremely inappropriate’.

Mr Dicks said it ‘lacked quality’ and had ‘poor design’, would have a negative impact upon its surroundings and would not deliver affordable housing.

The scheme was also opposed by Lewes Town Council, Tanners Brook Resident’s Association and the Friends of Lewes.

In its decision notice refusing permission for the plans, the SDNPA said the development would appear ‘incongruous and overly dominant within the street scene’ and would harm the character of the Lewes Conservation Area, adding that it did not include any affordable homes.

A spokesman for Quantum Homes said it could not comment on legal proceedings.