Lewes Forum thread

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County Hall move

On 18 Sep 2012 at 5:26pm Spartacus wrote:
Theres an article an the Sussex Express on line today about the proposed move of County Hall out of Lewes.
Cllr Kent is quoted as saying "...this could be the final nail in Lewes‚??s economic coffin.‚?Ě and "...It does highlight potential economic doom for Lewes".
Are his doom and gloom prophecies correct? is Lewes that dependent on County Hall for its economic prosperity?
Here's a link to the article

Check it out here »
On 18 Sep 2012 at 6:25pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I doubt it.
By the time they've built a gazillion shoe-box sized homes on that site, the spending of the new residents is likely to exceed that of County Hell staff imo.
I doubt if staff spend more than about £3 a day in town, tbh. You'd need a long lunch break to get to the bottom of town and back, and apart from pubs and sandwich shops, there's no real retail outlets west of the bottleneck.
Imo the county hall site is at least 10 times the size of the Lewes House site, so they could conceivably get 800 homes on there.
Maybe we should run a sweepstake on the final number.
On 18 Sep 2012 at 7:26pm uckers barry wrote:
i would like to see another ousedale complex so lewes could take the overcrowding off the whitehawk estate a few miles down the road and you could end up with up to 1800 flats or more on that site
On 18 Sep 2012 at 7:33pm Dave wrote:
County Hall staff buy subsidised food and drinks in a cafe at the bottom of County Hall. They rarely live in Lewes, because of property prices, hence the queueing traffic at rush hours and clogged streets where there are no parking restrictions.
Even the prison crossroad traffic lights are phased to help them get into Lewes and out during peak times.
For those who don't come by car, some of the revenue from the Lewes parking scheme is used to subsidise season tickets, to encourage them to travel by public transport.
On 18 Sep 2012 at 7:41pm Ben wrote:
How many people that work there live in Lewes? I guess they
would have to become commuters, which essentially erodes their salary suddenly by
5% or more. That would be pretty grim for anyone struggling to make ends meet on
a low council salary, as at the moment they no doubt walk to work.
On 18 Sep 2012 at 8:07pm Matt Kent wrote:
Based on the ESCC 2011-2012 Workforce Plan Document, of the 16667 employees of March 2011, 695 (Governance & Comms), 423 (Transport & Environment), 1734 (Adult Social Care), 260 (Corporate Resources), 2141 (Central Childrens Services), 11414 (Schools) are located thus.
I'm lead to believe up to 2000 employees work out of County Hall, a significant amount of people. Probably this Towns largest employer (it probably employs more people than the high street does collectively, but I could be proven wrong).
Lewes cannot wholly rely on tourism and shopping alone and needs other forms of economy, and I'm sure County Hall also rely on other companies locally to provide their services also. And as Ben says above, there are many employees that live locally too. Being made to travel 20 miles down the road (hypothetically) is the last thing they need in the current climate. The other great concern is that a 'smaller facility' will be built. Will this mean less service provision?
On 18 Sep 2012 at 8:29pm someone else wrote:
Some bored Tory muppet trolling again. Inconceivable that the move could cost less than £35m (probably more like ¬£50m) and I doubt the site is worth 10% of that in the current market.
On 18 Sep 2012 at 8:33pm Ben wrote:
And dont underestimate the ammount of after work drinking goes on...."lets all meet on Wedneday night in The Pelham cos its Daves birthday" . 2000 people have a lot of birthdays, midweek drinks, meals, special occasion lunches.
Also how many folks pick up a coffee and bun on their way from the station of a morning.
On 18 Sep 2012 at 9:23pm the old mayor wrote:
What Lewes needs is an fantastic shopping mall with free parking. Wouldnt that be a real shot in the arm for the town !! People would come from miles around to spend their money and it would create local jobs. Maybe even Designer outlets and specialist destination shops - not B & Q M & S Next rift raff !!
On 18 Sep 2012 at 9:51pm anonnymouse wrote:
This isn't a new story. I'm cynical but with a county council election coming up this looks to me like Tories positioning themselves to try and say they are good for the county as a whole, and local councillors positioning themselves to say they are best for Lewes. All look as bad as each other to me.
On 18 Sep 2012 at 11:07pm Gleber wrote:
My comments in relation to the above;
1. Drop in service? Surely they couldn't provide a worse service than they do already?
2. Most staff live in the Brighton area, not Lewes.
3. Staff spend very little in the town.
4. Housing could be shoehorned into the area and would certainly tick all the boxes for the district councils goals.
5. Car park would have the potential of being used for public use (but unlikely as flats worth more revenue).
Let's face it, Lewes has declined in the last 10 years and is well on it's way to become a dormitory town.
On 19 Sep 2012 at 7:52am Clifford wrote:
ACS has got it right - make County Hall residential and the residents' spending will outdo anything staff spend in the town. Mind you, we're going to need a lot more school places, doctors etc.
On 19 Sep 2012 at 11:10am Old Cynic wrote:
As ESCC will be cutting their budget again over the next three years by 5% pa its unlikely they will have any spare cash to move with!
On 19 Sep 2012 at 1:58pm Matt Kent wrote:
Personally, I think the site should be used for both. A new less architecturally evasive and more thermally efficient County Hall building could be built offline on the same site. Then demolish the old and introduce residential, work live mix also with green spaces and community facilities. Matt
On 19 Sep 2012 at 2:08pm Southover Queen wrote:
What do you mean "built offline", Matt? I'd certainly love to see the existing eyesore demolished: hideous building. It's ironic really that the worst building in town, dwarfing even the castle, should belong to the county council.
On 19 Sep 2012 at 4:23pm Dave wrote:
They will not rebuild on the current site under the existing administration, anyone suggesting that is naive in the extreme. The whole point of the projected move is to put staff from ESCC, Eastbourne and Wealden, at least, on one site, and to obtain funding from central government to help regenerate a run down area in East Sussex near Hailsham. They would need external funding to boost their own savings to achieve it.
It would be disingenuous for Matt or any other local politician to run a campaign to get ESCC to stay here, in order to try and promote themselves in the ESCC elections.
On 19 Sep 2012 at 5:16pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Does anyone know what the going rate for town centre land with residential planning consent is? The county hall site is massive and I'd be surprised if the sale value would be less than the cost of a move.
The cost of new offices would undoubtedly be offset by some sort of shonky S106 agreement (they have previous for this - got Sackville House built for nowt in exchange for letting Tesco build gtheir store).
I don't think planning permission would be much of an issue: they can award themselves the planning consent and it would be hard to object to on aesthetic grounds, plus there's very little land that can be used for housing, so they could argue that need is an overriding consideration. The traffic argument might carry more weight, but if they already have 2,000 people driving in to work the numbers would probably be comparable, albeit travelling in the opposite direction.
Hailsham's welcome to them, imo.
On 19 Sep 2012 at 5:19pm Matt Kent wrote:
@SQ. 'Offline' - Building on a piece of neighbouring site that doesn't impact of the current buildings or serivces. Then the eventual transfer / move isn't too impactful. (Sorry for the management speak).
On 19 Sep 2012 at 7:50pm Sussex Jim wrote:
Let's move County Hall occupants out of Lewes ASAP; and give residents of western Lewes their roads back.
On 19 Sep 2012 at 11:30pm Dave wrote:
What does architecturally evasive mean?
On 21 Sep 2012 at 1:05pm stevied wrote:
So residenta will be able to park outside their homes - but there will be 2000 less jobs in Lewes. Some deal...

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