Theatre and affordable housing proposed at former Lewes Magistrates’ Court in Lewes

Former Lewes magistrates court building. Photo by Peter Cripps
Former Lewes magistrates court building. Photo by Peter Cripps

A property developer from Ringmer has put an offer into buy the former Magistrates’ Court in Lewes with a view to providing space for the Lewes Repertory Theatre.

Philip Gorringe said he was waiting to find out whether his bid for the building on Friars Walk would be accepted.

If he is successful, he plans to retain the court building and convert it into part retail on the ground floor, to include the theatre and a culture centre, as well as affordable flats for first time buyers.

Philip said: “I think we could produce something that could benefit Lewes.

“I could see the reason for preserving that building.”

Once the bid is accepted, Philip explained he would get architects to visit the site and get a clearer idea of exactly what might be possible in the building.

He also explained there was a real lack of affordable flats for young people in Lewes.

Creating flats in this central location, close to the bus station and train station would be a benefit for the town.

Philip added: “There are very, very few flats. It would be nice to be able to do that for the town and for the young people.”

The Lewes Repertory Theatre’s base on the Phoenix Industrial Estate was severely damaged in a fire in March 2014.

The theatre applied for planning permission to convert the court into a theatre.