Please note – this is the architect’s drawing. The brickwork is largly grey with a grey roof. The architect cleverly avoids showing a large scale drawing in context with the grade II Fitzroy Memorial Library which in fact is right next door. It all seems similar to the one which the members rejected.
Quite apart from the design issues, and the oversized ‘massing’ of the building, ESCC Highways officers don’t seem to be concerned about the car parking problems that some 12 shops and a 59 bedroom hotel will cause. The developer is not buying the old magistrates court car park so there is no telling what is going to happen to that. Also ESCC have ignored concernes about the problems of HGV vehicles travelling to and from the site through our narrow streets to take away the masses of rubble that will be left after the demolition. Neither have they addressed concernes about the considerable number of HGVs which will be required to bring in the materials to build the new hotel. On top of this they can’t tell us about road closures! The developer’s plan shows the project taking 18 months. So we have to to face 18 months (or more?) of HGV traversing out narrow streets!
Lewes residents made a good showing in the public gallery over in Midhurst and three Lewes residents spoke against the planning application pointing out the continued litany of misleading drawings and inappropriate design aspects. Members of the SDNPA went against the officers’ enthusiastic support for the Premier Inn design and referred it back to the developer thus giving them a further bite of the cherry at a later date.
In the run-up to this meeting the planning application for the Lewes Repertory Theatre’s (LRT) re-use of the existing building was withdrawn from the agenda by the SDNPA officers saying there were objections by the ESCC Highways Department and the Environmental Health Department of the Lewes District Council. As the SDNPA officers made a fuss about these two objections LRT are now having to employ a professional planning consultant and other specialists to ensure the ‘technical’ objections are satisfactorily answered. Once these have been dealt with the LRT application will be considered by the SDNPA.
The LRT objective in making this application is:
The building will be publically owned as a public trust or by public share subscription with multiple tenants (LRT being only one of these) serving the community in Lewes and the surrounding area. LRT are hoping that the current owners, the Ministry of Justice will support this objective so that the proposed public organisation can be formed.
In the meantime please would you give the LRT campaign a boost by doing one or all of the following things?
PLANNING: Many of you have already written into the SDNPA registering your support for the LRT application, but if you haven’t please would you do so by clicking here and following the links.
DONATE: LRT and it’s supporters have had to incur extra costs to get the planning application processed. This includes the planning application fee, the cost of architectural services and planning consultants to mention just a few items. The theatre company lost its premises in a fire earlier this year at the Phoenix Centre in Lewes. Now they are incurring costs to fight this planning battle. Can you help with a donation towards the costs? Just click here to go to the donation page of the LRT Supporters Group where you can make a contribution online or get the details to send a donation.
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.
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)
Still 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:
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