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Canon 0'Donnell Community Centre

 
 
On 16 Mar 2009 at 8:21am concerned wrote:
Developers have resubmitted a conservation area consent application for the demolition of the Canon O'Donnell Community Hall.(Although they have strangely changed its name to St. Annes Parish Hall) - LW/09/0249)
The plans for a replacement block of flats seem even more unpalatable than the previous ones which were withdrawn. The facilities at the hall were so run down by the previous owners that the varied groups using the facilities were forced to go elsewhere.
Now we are in danger, not ony of a change of usage, thus losing a valuable - and increasingly rare - public space but also the loss of a building which holds an iconic position in this western end of town.
 
 
On 16 Mar 2009 at 11:00am Lewes Laugher wrote:
Tell us what we can do to help. Letters to councillors?
 
 
On 16 Mar 2009 at 5:37pm concerned wrote:
Yes please - we need all the help we can get. The west end of town seems to get forgotten sometimes and this is a real issue for local people who have lost not only an amenity enjoyed for generations but now also stand to lose a cheriched and familiar landmark
Letters to the planning dept too - objecting both to the proposed demolition and the proposed subsequent erection of a block of flats(proposed no. of flats jiggled to exclude any chance of affordable housing!)
The hall lies ofcourse within the Conservation area and the developers have to justify its demolition. Canon O'Donnell Hall is looking rather sad at the moment, having been deliberately run down. But it is a lovely old building that would look great with a new coat of paint. It is structurally sound. Thank you.
 
 
On 16 Mar 2009 at 6:08pm Lewes Man wrote:
I remember my first day going to 3rd lewes Cub scouts walking into that same building and all the fun and hard work we had in it.
Happy Days
 
 
On 17 Mar 2009 at 9:14am another wrote:
I also remember going to the 6th lewes scouts at St Anns Hall
 
 
On 17 Mar 2009 at 9:24am sashimi wrote:
I remember going there when it was the HQ of Rocket FM
 
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On 17 Mar 2009 at 11:24am Lopster wrote:
but what is the justification for keeping it?
who is currently responsible for its upkeep and the necessary "lick of paint"?
what are it scurrent uses -that are essential to th ewell- being of the top end of the town?
how do I justify its presence - if not just "an old derelict hall that looks pretty and everyone has fond memories of" - when writing to the "town councillors"?
finally which specific councillor(s) and what address and by when - could "post" a template letter here for all to copy and edit accordingly - always easier to do this rather than pen an original.... POWER TO THE FORUM
 
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On 17 Mar 2009 at 1:32pm Mystic Mog wrote:
Write to the DISTRICT Councillors on the Planning Committee as well as the Town Council.
 
 
On 17 Mar 2009 at 1:39pm Sylvia wrote:
I have to be honest and say that I think it is a hideous building quite apart from its condition. I would not wish to see it kept, it's very ugly.
However, lack of community facilitiers that end if the town and the prominence of the site are concerns tjhat should be aired.
 
 
On 17 Mar 2009 at 11:27pm Spinster Of This Parish wrote:
Lopster, it's the principal that the continued erosion of the town's amenities is destroying the town - object to all change of use from business to residential. The north/western side of the town centre is decaying rapidly due to LDC's policy to approve ANY residential proposal regardless of loss of public amenity. This continued erosion just plays into the hands of developers like Charles Style who wants to relocate the town centre to the Phoenix area.
Don't say I did not warn you!
 
 
On 18 Mar 2009 at 12:51am Local town resident wrote:
English heritage have acknowledged the merity of this significant building, and just because it isn't Listed now, doesn't mean it couldn't be. The dereliction the owner has allowed makes it hard to imagine how fine it should look, and it is a very well thought out, and cleverly designed structure in a tricky space. Just look at the unusual lines of the roof line when drivin past from the prison. It is very modern indeed. It has a very obviuos use, that is not met by other buildings, and i contributes to the general mix of buildins. WQe cannot keep removing buildings of merit just because they aren't Medaieval, and replace them with more flats. There are people queining up to find decent community facilities, but flats in Baxters are hardly selling like ho cakes. Most towns would love to have a quality building like this in a location like this, surrounded by even more quality buildings, but our dodgy Planning Department has a very poor record indeed of protecting such facilities. they will probably argue for another unwanted gallery, like HQ. The Conservation Officer is new, and might appreciate what a well designed asset the building should be, because if he can't then we can look forward to losing even more good buildings, that aren't Listed, as Lewes becomes an increasing honeypot for developers who want to deal with a planning department withan increasing reputation as an easy touch.
 
 
On 18 Mar 2009 at 10:12am exiledfromLewes wrote:
Through out the 1980s the All Saints church was a loss making local amenity when it was donated to the council. It was primarily run by local groups. it was only turned around when the council took full control and running of it and rented it out to various group.
Similar scenario to Landport Boys club that I visted as a youngster, which through bad management had money taken out of it. But, they were in the end helped out by the Council who took over the running of the building and gained grants for it to be reopened.

"The west end of town seems to get forgotten sometimes and this is a real issue for local people who have lost not only an amenity enjoyed for generations ."
The problem with the Canon O'Donnell was for generations it was the local Catholic centre. In recent times this amenity was no longer needed by local Catholics and people in general. The underuse of this building has helped in its current deriliction and for many years not too many people were worried that it had been underused. It's only a hot topic now when a developer has proposed to do something to it.
I don't support it being pulled down as I have read that it is a unique building in the town and would be contrary to the planning laws. However I accept that we are in this situation mainly because there was not a significant amount of local people willing to invest time to support this amenity.
 
 
On 18 Mar 2009 at 12:11pm No Pot Pourri wrote:
I can't see the problem with replacing the ugly, run-down Canon O'Donnell with flats and I can't see why the developer should subsidise housing for other people at the expense of their own profit.
The only issue I have is the design. The building looks too big and bulky compared to its neighbours and the elevations seem to clash with the pattern of the surrounding buildings. I think ten flats on the site is a tad ambitious and it looks like the design was informed by the square footage / number of dwellings required, rather than designing a building to fit with the context of its neighbours and then deducing the number of dwellings.
1
 
On 18 Mar 2009 at 1:26pm Spongebobs twin wrote:
Knock it down and make it a drive thru McDonalds and a Tescos upstairs. Move with the times and stop being stuck in the 1950's. Modern people are more than happy to sit behind their widescreen TV watching DVDs and playing with their WIIs so they do not need to leave home and get cold and wet. Community halls are only used by DFLs doing basket weaving and making string. Get real we need more low cost shops in the town like Superdrug, Boots, New Look, Bunces, WH Smith etc (ed. we already have). At the moment every shop sells high cost string so there is no point me using the high street. Anyway the chip on my shoulder is so big I need a large shop entrance to for me to enter and Tescos has big doorways. Also my vision (like my mind) is so narrow that all signage should be illuminated with bright primary colours. In fact knock down the whole high street.
 
 
On 19 Mar 2009 at 8:22am concerned wrote:
To be honest I always took the Canon O'Donnell Community hall for granted. But it is, for Lewes, a rare example of an Arts and Crafts building - and it does sit well in a difficult site without dominating: unlike the proposed. brash new flats, seemingly designed for DFLs. I like the varying roof line along Western Road. it is, I think, irreplaceable; apart from the obvious community issues it is part of the streetscape and its history. Worth looking at with fresh eyes and with that fresh coat of paint in mind. The developers have raised economic issues in favour of demolition rather than some kind of conversion. This is surely not a 'planning' argument to be used to support the demolition of a viable building.
 
 
On 19 Mar 2009 at 8:22am concerned wrote:
To be honest I always took the Canon O'Donnell Community hall for granted. But it is, for Lewes, a rare example of an Arts and Crafts building - and it does sit well in a difficult site without dominating: unlike the proposed. brash new flats, seemingly designed for DFLs. I like the varying roof line along Western Road. it is, I think, irreplaceable; apart from the obvious community issues it is part of the streetscape and its history. Worth looking at with fresh eyes and with that fresh coat of paint in mind. The developers have raised economic issues in favour of demolition rather than some kind of conversion. This is surely not a 'planning' argument to be used to support the demolition of a viable building.
 
 
On 19 Mar 2009 at 9:04am c.b.s. wrote:
what shall we do with it !!!! that will be next a mysterious fire, bit like the pier ! more than one way to skin a cat, who ever skins cats, davy crocket maybe
 
 
On 19 Mar 2009 at 10:52am Mystic Mog wrote:
You do yourself a diservice by assuming that the flats are for DFLs. Do not get a chip on your shoulder like Spongebob, Intrepid fox et al.
It may be worth writing to the conservation officer.
 
 
On 20 Mar 2009 at 10:37pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Who else will the flats be for though, Mog? Indigenous Lewesians will be very lucky if they can afford them, and if the Printworks is anything to go by, even shared ownership isn't sufficiently attractive to local workers and the catchment area now extends 50 miles, ie outer London.
If the new flats were to provide much-needed social housing for local people, I'd feel differently about it. I'm sick of seeing the wotn losing community resources to line the pockets of fat-cat developers (who may well be losing weight soon).
 
 
On 26 Mar 2009 at 3:52pm Colonisation wrote:
Can people not form their own opions anymore?
Listing has been ruled out by EH.
The hall is in a poor state of affairs and is an eyesore to that prominent location of town, there is no viability or purpose for its renovation apart from to keep the building envelope itself. The hall was apparently sold because it was not used anymore (so rarely it was costing more to maintain), how come people seem to be so worried about losing community facilities which don't even get used enough to justify keeping them? Do we want pretty looking buildings that sit empty incurring annual maintenance costs?
My feeling is we will be stuck with it as it is - in decline - for many years to come due to a combination of economics, viability, planning policy and automatic local stance against development.


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