We need more business space

Stephen Catlin stated in his letter (June 8) that 5,000 commuters leave Lewes each week to work, but also complains about proposed commercial development in Brooks Road.

He would like to see more houses, but surely the solution is more business premises. If Lewes had the correct balance of commercial property in the town, then fewer residents would need to leave the town to work.

The reason that many current offices are being converted into flats is that the profit margin for residential development is much higher. Conversion of offices, such as the old police station, is going to create small flats with no garden, or open space. In a rural county town, I believe most people want some private open space. I would like to see this trend reversed, and changed to supply affordable commercial space.

For a business, office costs can be high, and unlike domestic rented property, there is no housing benefit to assist with the rent. Affordable business space could help increase local employment, reduce travelling and make the town more prosperous. With good local employment levels, the requirement for very low cost housing Mr Catlin is campaigning for, could be reduced.

With possible redevelopment of the Phoenix estate, Lewes needs the correct mix of work space, where rents that are affordable, and attractive to a range of businesses. Extra low cost housing could just generate gridlock.

High rents was stated as one of the reasons that Catlin’s is no longer a high street shop.

Michael Cotgrove, Lewes