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Thank you!

To:  All those who have campaigned over the development at the former magistrates court in Lewes and to those who have supported the Lewes Repertory Theatre including signing the petition and making donations, – THANK YOU!

Join us for an early evening get-together by way of a ‘Christmas Social’ on TONIGHT from 6:30 pm at the Westgate Chapel, in Lewes High Street. Wine, beer and soft drinks will be on sale. Entrance is free – it will just be an opportunity for us to thank you for your support and for everyone to have some Christmas cheer and to socialise!

Click here for directions etc

It has been a long hard road. Sadly we haven’t succeeded as you may have seen from the Sussex Express. It seems the developer and the officers of the National Park finally swayed the members at their meeting over in Midhurst on Thursday last week. There will be important things to keep track of once the demolition and construction project starts but for now let’s turn to the festive season…..

National Park ignore local residents – Lewes SHALL have a new hotel!

Well, it is all over, and we fear that Lewes will never be the same again. Lewes residents returned from a very frustrating hearing at Midhurst yesterday where the vote went in favour of Quora by 7 to 3.

Yet again, the officers of the South Downs National Park Authority recommended approval. Only three members of the public were allowed to speak for 3 mins each. The developer responded with their speaking slots. Then the chairman selected Tom Jones (also a Lewes District Councillor and ‘Lead Planning Member) to open the discussion.  He was in full support of this development and praised the architect for all his ‘improvements.’ He pointed out that, as Lewes already had a building like Waitrose just around the corner one more won’t make much difference as Lewes is full of different styles of building anyway!  He wasn’t concerned about the waste disposal situation from the demolition. Mr Jones seems to think it a perfect solution that all the waste from the demolished building will be taken up the High Street in small skip lorries makes the whole thing ok as far as he is concerned! Perhaps he wouldn’t say the same if it was in his village of Ditching! His most outrageous comment was to say there will be no parking problem because all the visitors to the hotel development can park in the North Street Quarter where there will be parking for 300 cars!!  Our comment: i) the North Street Quarter has not yet been agreed, let alone built,  and ii) it is a very long walk with all your suitcases from North Street to get to the Premier Inn.

Tom Jones’ talk seemed to set a precedent and others then followed suit like sheep and agreed – APART from three members, – Charles Peck and Neville Harrison spoke with passion and eloquence along with Barbara Holyome.  But, it was not enough and the vote went against us – the chairman also voted against us.

The case officer, Ransford Stewart, seemed very unsure of his facts – he referred to the Fitzroy Memorial Library as the Fitzroy Hospital?! Also he was unsure of how to pronounce ‘Lewes’! This was compounded by the fact that most of the members were not familiar with Lewes!

We feel that residents of Lewes have been let down by the Friends of Lewes and Lewes Conservation Area Advisory Group (CAAG) – they both supported this latest version of the plans!

So there it is – after a long battle it seems to be all over and we have to sit back and wait for Quora, Juice Architects, Premier Inn & Whitbread PLC to ruin (and run) our lovely old town.



Planners from Midhurst forcing hotel plans on Lewes!

West ElevationDespite all the objections to the design, disruption and a whole host of other issues from the Lewes Town Council  local groups (including The Friends of Lewes & the South Downs Society) and the public, planners want to force Lewes to have a Premier Inn hotel

The planners are at it again! They are again recommending that the former magistrates court in Lewes should be demolished and hotel plus shops be built in its place. The design includes the use of a mass of grey-blue bricks together with steel and glass awnings. The National Park’s own Design Officer has come out against the design as have the vast majority of the Lewes people.

In December 2013, the previous dreadful design was recommended by the planners to the members of the SDNPA but the members agreed with the residents of Lewes that the design should be refused. Well, the developer and the planners are not prepared to take no for an answer and on Thursday 9th October, in a few days’ time, the members will have to decide on the revised planning application.

Lewes needs to make a good showing at the planning meeting in order to demonstrate the strength of feeling of local residents. Can you join us? Let us know if you can come over to Midhurst on Thursday 9th (we are car sharing and have laid mini-bus transport). There is no charge but a donation on the day would be great! Just fill in the contact form (click here) or phone Charlotte on 01273 473250. We will be leaving from Lewes Railway Station at 8.00 am and returning in the afternoon. We will arrive in Midhurst in time to get a coffee/tea before the meeting. It is likely the Magistrates’ Court item will be over by lunch time.

If you can’t come you can still write to the planning department to make a comment opposing the demolition & redevelopment by – coping this reference:  SDNP/14/01650/FUL  and paste it into the search box at the SDNPA web site by clicking here. If you have time please also contact the Planning Dept (click here) or better still write to the members of the planning committee. Click here for details of all SDNPA members.

Thanks you!

PS: there is a further Machiavellian twist to the sad story of the old magistrates court site. You may know that Lewes Repertory Theatre applied for planning permission in back in July to convert the court site into an arts and cultural centre. The National Park had decided that this application should be heard at the same time as the building demolition and construction of a Premier Inn application. Well just at the last minute officials at East Sussex County Council and Lewes District Council have found reasons for querying the application which means that a decision on this theatre application is going to be put off. It seems that the developer of the Premier Inn is being allowed a ‘clear field’ before the theatre application is brought to committee for decision. We are unsure of what this means but it’s clearly not very fair or democratic! Read more about this on the Lewes Repertory Theatre’s Supporters website (click here)



Lewes House Site, Friars Walk plans approved by the SDNPA


Lewes House Site, Friars Walk – 19 September 2014:

Redevelopment to provide 25 residential units and associated open space, car parking, access and landscaping. Here is a copy of the west elevation plan:

West Elevation






Here is a copy of the site plan:

25 houses Lewes plan2








For detailed information go to the SDNPA Planning web site  and search for:


Still time to give your views on the plans for the Magistrates’ Court

Court ViewStill time to give your views on the proposed hotel design and  demolition of the former Magistrates’ Court building in Lewes. This letter, in the Sussex Express by a Lewes resident reminds us that Quora have now submitted yet more amendments to their new hotel design. We recommend reading her letter:

Click here to see Eleanor Austin’s letter

The new design, by Juices Architects of London  is still a dull grey mass of a building featuring steel and glass. Hardly a suitable design for a conservation area !

If you agree with Elanor please click here to make your comments to the SDNPA

Will the officers of the SDNPA have the courage to reject this latest design?

Call for a public enquiry into the future of the former Magistrates’ Court

Court View2Call for a public enquiry into what should be developed at the former Magistrates’ Court in Lewes by a senior planning professional, Michael Parfect. He is  a retired member of Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Town Planning Institute and retired senior planning officer who worked in Surrey, Lewes and East Sussex planning departments. and who also co-authored a book “Planning for Urban Quality”  He makes some very good points – I wonder if today’s modern planning officers at the SDNPA will listen?

Click here to see Michael’s letter to the Sussex Express

Planning officers at the National Park will be finalising their recommendation from the 26th September ready for the Planning Committee meeting on the 9th October 2014. Not long now, so please send your comments in.

Theatre group gain widespread support

18th Meeting

Lewes Repertory Theatre held a successful public meeting on Monday, 18th of August in Lewes where they explained their proposals behind the planning application for the disused Magistrates Court in Friars Walk, Lewes.

The group have widespread support in the local community with many members of the public writing in to the South Downs National Park Authority giving their support. Also the Lewes Town Council, the South Downs Society & the Lewes Conservation Area Advisory Group have written in giving their support to the scheme.

Comments shoud be made direct to the SDNPA by the 25th August (next Monday) so there isn’t much time. Please support the theatre group’s application:

The application, (SDNP/14/03805/FUL) can be seen and comments registered on the SDNPA web site ( ).


New plans sumitted for the old Magistrates Court in Lewes

New Plans have been submitted to the National Park by the developer of the old Lewes Magistrates’ Court. The #SDNPA are asking for comments by the 23rd July. Please have a look at them on:

Put in The planning application number: SDNP/14/01650/FUL

Even if you have already made comments it is important you update your views as the planning officers may disregard comments made before these revised plans. Thank you.

Here is the link to the Sussex Express article:


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