On 29 Jun 2015 at 9:48am Belladonna wrote:
This from Phoenix rising group.
It is now apparent that the larger local businesses on North Street are also facing closure.
Among them, Compass Travel - which provides half a million rural bus trips per year from its Phoenix depot - the North Street Garage, Furniture Now, The Dance Academy and Back to the Grain have all spoken out saying they cannot afford the five-fold rent increases or exorbitant land prices at the ‘relocation’ site – the yet-to-be-built Malling Brooks Industrial Park, also owned by Santon.
Chris Chatfield of Compass Travel says: “Over the past two years, we have approached Santon and their agents to discuss this situation but they have not come back to us. If Malling Brooks is the only alternative available to us, we would be forced to close our East Sussex routes, with the potential loss of up to 35 jobs plus, of course, the huge impact the withdrawal of our services will have on rural communities."
Dave Ryan of North Street Garage says: "We have come to a complete full stop in our discussions with Santon. The space they are offering is much smaller, five times the price and has bad access. We simply can't afford to move there and the future of the garage is now seriously at risk."
This sentiment was echoed by Wendy Baker of The Dance Academy: "We have been offered a serviced plot for £175,000 on which we'd have to build from scratch. This is completely beyond our capabilities. We have been told by Oakleys Commercial, on behalf of Santon, that they are only interested in big corporates at Malling Brooks."
On 29 Jun 2015 at 10:06am Celine wrote:
Well, no suprises there then. Santon are quite clearly only interested in maximising their profit and need to be opposed to get them to change their plan. What is the latest on Phoenix Rising? I heard they were developing an alternative plan and were in contact with the South Downs National Park regarding this.
On 29 Jun 2015 at 11:54am George wrote:
Malling Brooks site has planning Permission for Light Industrial use ONLY ( Check the Plans LW/07/1608 - LW/12/0342 ) working hours 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm Saturdays, no Sunday or Bank holiday working.As for Furniture Now,Rob Martin owns a small part of Malling Brooks which he could move to.
Do Not believe all you read from Phoenix Rising.
On 29 Jun 2015 at 12:19pm Juliet at LPR wrote:
Yes, we have entered the outline planning process and met with the SDNP design panel for an initial design review of our plans which was extremely positive. We will return for a further Design Review in the autumn and continue our consultations with the community and stakeholders in Lewes. In the meantime, we are also conducting a full financial appraisal for the whole 15-acre site to show how it would be possible to build the 400 homes required by planning policy, plus further homes at social rents and still retain large-scale workspace for Lewes' manufacturing, social and community enterprises. See the full plans at www.lewesphoenixrising.com
On 29 Jun 2015 at 1:21pm Celine wrote:
Good for you Juliet. I despair when I return to places I've loved in the past to find them wrecked by greedy developers. The only place I know that seems safe so far is west Cornwall, presumably because it's so poor! Let's hope we can stop lovely Lewes being wrecked.
On 29 Jun 2015 at 1:58pm bastian wrote:
There is a real possiblility that Santon are squeezing more than the artists and companies out of the estate as they won't even rent to bonfire societies anymore either. theer will be no building sheds left in this town and that is really bad news for the societies.
On 29 Jun 2015 at 6:00pm trooper wrote:
It is interesting to note that in regard to Compass Travel and the possibility that they will no longer function in their current system.The local authority under the pretext of reduced funding have managed to play havoc with the local services,it appears that together with Santon they would like to see the removal of the service totally by removing their base in Lewes. Question, how much more of this town do Santon own ???
On 29 Jun 2015 at 6:07pm Local wrote:
I'm not aware of a single bonfire society using space there, bastian. Which societies do you think use Santon facilities?
On 29 Jun 2015 at 10:15pm Bongo wrote:
Local, bonfire societies have used those units for years - the fact that you know nothing about that is a good thing, since all the bonfire tabs are created in secrecy. Nobody gets to see them until they are moved to Western Road on the 5th.
On 29 Jun 2015 at 10:31pm TDA wrote:
On Saturday I went to buy some bread from a community bakers, Lewes Bread Club, in the North Street area. Amazing bread, you should try it. It's baked by members of the Lewes public in a kitchen on North Street.
Literally next door to them is Starfish Music, we all know how much they do for the young musicians in the community of Lewes and surrounding areas.
And then right next to Starfish I looked at Furniture Now, where we bought our sons' bunk beds 7 years ago, and they are still going strong, servicing the cheaper end of the needs of the local community.
And I thought, 'that's bloody brilliant that is'.
All of you at Santon, and Oakleys, both Oakleys who know personally, and the councillors taking backhanders to force this thing through, should hang your heads in shame. Just hang your heads. Shame on you.
On 29 Jun 2015 at 10:50pm Bongo wrote:
Don't forget Car Parts & Accessories, TDA. Cheaper than Halfords, and right on our doorsteps!
On 29 Jun 2015 at 10:57pm Belladonna wrote:
Yes it is shameful that the local district council is effectively closing down those small business enterprises to benefit the large corporate. Undoubtably palms have been greased. Where is the local community benefit in Santons proposals ? Where are the replacement business units? Where is the social housing ? How does a town survive without jobs and services ?
On 30 Jun 2015 at 7:03am Resident wrote:
I have only lived here for 14 years but am appalled by the ugly new buildings, all boxes spayed with a grey or green textured paint, just like portacabins, for example, HQ, police station, houses in the Avenue and Prince Edwards Road. The only houses that fit in are at the top of Western Road, how that wasn't thrown out by the local planners is a mystery. I am sick of the greed and corruption by developers and so called planners, it's so evident where their loyalties lie. The so called "friends" are sucked in by the developer on the pretext that they can work together to improve the design, rubbish, they are just self important puppets. We need to raise awareness of the plight of Lewes to somebody who cares and can do something, naturally not the LDC and I'm not sure about the SDNPA, national newspapers? Any suggestions?
On 30 Jun 2015 at 7:13am Resident wrote:
There are many emotive topics that the quality nationals could use.
Local businesses forced out/ closed. Secret deals with developers to sell off public assets, social housing etc etc.
On 30 Jun 2015 at 9:05am trooper wrote:
Let us all be quite clear all the protesting and posting will be of little avail all our local authorities are bought and sold this includes the SDNP another self serving quango, The residents of this town are being sold out to big money by those who would like to be big money.This does not mean we should give up NEVER NEVER but be aware that the people you are against work on the principle that"Greed is Good".
On 30 Jun 2015 at 9:42am Qwerty wrote:
I'm not entirely convinced by all aspects of the Santon plan - but a few thoughts:
- Why are developers singled out for being particularly greedy? We don't think Waitrose is greedy for maximising its profit on bananas, or our local builder greedy for getting the most he can from a job. We also don't think people who sell their own homes are greedy for wanting to get the highest bid. So why are Santon particularly greedy for wanting to get the highest return from this scheme? On the other hand, I don't hear anything about the people who will eventually live at north street. They are people too who deserve homes.
- Affordable housing. Who would argue with that? It's motherhood and apple pie innit. But it needs subsidy from central government, always has. Social housing needs it most of all, and the current government won't provide it. The local authority can't do (much) without central government help. If the people of Lewes feel so strongly about North St they should have banded together and bought out the scheme years ago - in fact most of the schemes Phoenix Rising & co keep referring to are community-owned, not developer-owned.
- Santon, as far as a I understand it, are backed by pension fund money. They have responsibilities to those pension-holders to maximise the return on their investment. Most people looking at this forum will invest in developers in some way - including public sector pension schemes (for example, local authority pension schemes are some of the biggest backers of developers and property investors). How would you feel if your pension was smaller as a result of providing more affordable homes? The same, I'd imagine, as if you were forced to sell your home at below market value to a needy local family.
I am, at the same time, upset that a distinctive and unique part of Lewes will be lost. But given that the buildings are falling apart (partly because rents are so low) and the cost of land in Lewes, I find it fairly difficult to see what else could be done. Central Government needs to get its industrial and business strategy sorted out properly so this sort of thing doesn't happen. But on the other hand the Santon scheme isn't that bad: believe me, you could get a lot, lot worse. And at the same time, LEwes needs more housing: market housing as well as the 'affordable' variety.
On the other hand perhaps Phoenix Rising could ask Lord Renton of Mount Harry (one-time chief whip for Thatcher) to see if he can use his influence to promote affordable homes and affordable business space within the government? I hear they have good connections.
On 30 Jun 2015 at 12:03pm John Stockdale wrote:
North Street Garage are on land where LDC own the freehold and the head leases run for 50 plus years. The Council will have to buy out the leaseholders to contribute the land to the Santon/LDC scheme. Dave Ryan may be on a sublease so his position may be less secure. Compass operate out of Worthing. They have a store on a cheap short term site in Lewes so they don't have to drive over to East Sussex every day. Other bus operators find they can do this economically from out of town sites.
SDNPA don't have a choice of schemes for North Street. They have to deal with each application on its merits. If the Santon/LDC one complies with local and national policies, as I think it probably does, they will have to give it consent or run the risk of paying very high legal expenses if they refuse it on unreasonable grounds and lose on appeal. If SDNPA subsequently approve a second scheme as they did with the Magistrates Court, that's academic because all the land is in the other camp.
The trouble with an ‘all or nothing’ negotiating stance, as Mr Tsipras has now discovered, is that you could easily end up with ‘nothing’. If Phoenix Rising engage with the landowners now, they may be able to make improved transitional arrangements for these businesses. They may be able to reshape or improve the arts offer as well.
On 30 Jun 2015 at 1:40pm Arselicker wrote:
How much did they pay you ?
On 30 Jun 2015 at 1:54pm Voter wrote:
I guess their is the reason you didn't get re-elected ex-Councillor Stockdale? Not really sticking up for the residents of Lewes
On 30 Jun 2015 at 2:30pm Local wrote:
Bongo - I am heavily involved with bonfire, thanks for asking. So I know that whilst one or two societies sometimes use space near to Santon's properties for a day or two before the 5th, none to my extensive knowledge use any of their space. Speak to them and you'll be told that all have 'sheds' on the outskirts of town these days.
On 30 Jun 2015 at 2:59pm bastian wrote:
Local, they must have been very secret then because I know that Tabs have been built there, but will never now be built on that estate again, and not all sheds are safe from the developers because land prices are making greedy b*ggers snap up and change the use of all kinds of sheds. If developers are to be the end of bonfire then Santon must be stopped, and if the SDNP actually does nothing to secure the tradition it contravines one of its own policies.
On 30 Jun 2015 at 3:03pm neighbour wrote:
Thank you John for a bit of well informed comment. As you may have noticed this is pretty rare when this development is discussed. Like it or not (and I think it could be better) the LDC/Santon scheme is the only game in town and will very likely receive permission in September. There is, just, a possibility that they may make some alterations at this very late stage but that window is fast closing. I can see what the LPR project is hoping to achieve but I am at a loss to see how they hope to achieve it.
On 30 Jun 2015 at 3:36pm Qwerty wrote:
John is right - the legal duty of the planning function at LDC is to check that the proposal conforms with national and local policies. If this is the case, and it turns down the scheme, the developer will go to appeal, and probably win. LDC will then have to pay the legal fees - money that it could spend on other local services. is that fair, bastian, voter?
As for 'sticking up for the people of Lewes' - I get the impression that a lot of people (especially those on the left) would rather ineffectual but principled opposition to effective, pragmatic engagement that produces "the best we could hope for".
On 30 Jun 2015 at 3:57pm Curious wrote:
I have been wondering for some time why it has taken Phoenix Rising so long to come up with objections and a new scheme. I am sad that the creative industries will sufffer as I think there are loads of brilliant things happening down North St in many of the art forms. It is fifteen years since the last scheme was proposed and the owners went bust. Plenty of time for the people of Lewes to come up with a new scheme and to work with LDC but nobody has until the 11th hour and it is almost certainly too late. The consultations have been widely advertised and comments invited and well attended. All in all, you can't say fairer than that.
On 30 Jun 2015 at 4:42pm Jack wrote:
Arselicker you are very rude about people, have you stood for Council?
John Stockdale gives you the facts.
Lets not forget Phoenix Rising do not speak for all the residents in Lewes only the likes of Arselicker. Also remember Pheonix Rising do NOT OWN ONE INCH of that LAND
On 30 Jun 2015 at 4:49pm bastian wrote:
The problem here is that the council entered into a legally binding contract with a land owner behind closed doors without consulting the people of Lewes about what they NEED, so if it goes to appeal and they lsoe they will be A/ stupid for not insuring against this action and B/ it will be their fault for not consulting us before taking action, and it will be us who suffer for their dark behaviour in the issue of planning behind closed doors. What ever happens, the people of Lewes, the voters and tax payers, will lose out big time, we are over a barrel and they know it.
John may well tell the truth, but he has not attempted to help us by demanding justice, or by whistle blowing on the actions of the planning department. This is not s democratic desicion. How will you feel when thet decide to sell off the land behind Tesco to build more private homes? it's just conjecture, but who's to say that isn't next, where does it stop and what's in it for the voting people?
On 30 Jun 2015 at 7:00pm Qwerty wrote:
You're a bit confused, bastian. Planning is nothing to do with ownership or land, really - I could put a planning application in for North Street if I wanted. I couldn't do anything about it, of course, not being the owner, but there's nothing to stop me putting it in.
The point is the council will then have to decide it - not on the terms of whether you, I, the people of Lewes, or the man in the moon think its' good or not - but on the basis of national and local planning policy. If they don't do this they are open to legal challenge.
As I said, the ownership or occupation of the premises is nothing to do with the planning system, silly as that may sound.
On 30 Jun 2015 at 7:01pm Convenient wrote:
Yes some people will be inconvenienced , yes some businesses will have to move out of Lewes , yes maybe some not very successful businesses will have to close ( Probably a good move anyway ) yes some artists will have to face the fact that being creative is tough if you have to function in the real world , yes some squatters and bus dwellers will have to find other run down places to make look like a s*+t hole . They've all hàd it easy and got away with it ..... Face facts, times up so give in gracefully and move on . Most of the successful businesses there have always know their time was limited and hopefully they'll find new premises . Santon are a business not a bunch of Satanists . I have no connection with either Santon or Phoenix but really would like to see the area improved .
On 30 Jun 2015 at 7:21pm bastian wrote:
Convenient is one of the mighty forgers in time, let's forge ahead reardless of public opinion because that is modern. But is it sustainable?
No, it is short temr thinking, which is popular, the real worl is not financial but alla round us all the time, for some peopel it is more real than for others as it is unequal.
However, we all know that the planning rules are under the control of central govrenment who are corrupt and so no one in the REAL world stands a chance.
And they say they don't want to annny us, well they just want to control everything more an dmore above the needs of their electorate. That is contemtuous.
On 1 Jul 2015 at 3:03am Local wrote:
bastian - I don't doubt that some tabs used to be built there, but not in recent years.
Curious makes a valid point that I also made a while back - why didn't the great and good of the town raise the funds to buy the site from NAMA before Santon did, so that the folks benefitting from low or zero rents and free van-parking could continue to do so whilst blighting a large chunk of the town into the future?
On 1 Jul 2015 at 11:40am Curious wrote:
There has been plenty of consultation over the last few years and many opportunities to put forward alternative plans or other views. They have been held at different times of day to accommodate as many people as possible. I have been to two displays myself and went down to North Street to find out what is happening down there. Santon has an office in Phoenix House in North St - they have been open to consultation. I'm not saying that what they are proposing is ideal for everyone but they own 60% of the land, having bought it from the previous developer who went bust years ago, LDC owns 30% and the rest is still in other private hands. Why has it taken so long to come up with alternatives?
On 1 Jul 2015 at 11:47am Clifford wrote:
I often wonder whether people go in for being councillors because they genuinely want to serve their community or whether they see it as a good way to line their pockets in an underhand way.
On 1 Jul 2015 at 12:24pm Hmm wrote:
I feel cynical about any property developments due to much of the greed we have seen and poor constructions in some cases. For me as a Lewes person I'd like the town to thrive, and not become twee tourist attraction, I'd also like a diverse community. So if the problem lies with government planning laws (?) what if anything can we do to stop the site becoming an anywhereville, characterless development which out prices some of the businesses that are prospering, albeit not on the scale of big businesses or, dare I say it estate agencies and property developers? We have an unequal society, always have always will, but surely we don't have to accept everything central government impose on us?
On 1 Jul 2015 at 2:29pm bastian wrote:
The local Lewes community land trust tried to buy the land at the same time as Santon, they offered £5 million, Santon offered £5 million, 250,000-so the council went with Santon. Santon are huge, have a lot of money stashed offshore and thought they'd make a killing out of Lewes at the locals expense, and our council encouraged them without actually thinking about what we needed, like social housing, which LCLT would have provided for the council and of course all the facillities that go with a growing community. Flood defences will only be built around the developers own properties, pushing water onto other parts of town.
On 1 Jul 2015 at 2:52pm Hmm wrote:
So if we really object to Santon's plans and to LDC's decision to have sold to them, is there anything we can do to preserve what we think is positive for Lewes and also produce decent and diverse housing and business sites?
On 1 Jul 2015 at 3:33pm Eric wrote:
If Santon build and put in flood defences that cause other parts of the town to flood isn't there a legal case that they are liable for the flood damage to the other areas?
On 1 Jul 2015 at 4:37pm Curious wrote:
The land didn't belong to LDC so they could not sell it. It was owned by the previous developer. LDC has maintained its percentage of land which it will be developing alongside Santon but it is only 30% of the available land. There is going to be low cost housing etc etc. What a load of whingeing Poms you all are. LDC is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but you can't blame them for everything. Other flood defences have been put in place to protect other parts of town. I understand Phoenix Rising is not proposing flood defences! The people of Lewes have had 15 years to influence what happens in North St. You'd be better putting your mind to finding other land to house displaced artists, musicians and dancers. Where is the £5 million now? Put you're money where your mouth is, for goodness sake. There are philanthropists out there - find them and make use of them to help the artists in Lewes find a new home. Work with the Council and Santon not against them.
On 1 Jul 2015 at 4:47pm sparticus wrote:
Bastian - Stanton bought their holding in the North Street area from NAMA (Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency) who owned the dept of Angle and Terracotta Properties (the bunch that tried to get this development off the ground 15 years ago) the sale was handled by Grant Thornton.
I know its easy to blame the council and cry conspiracy but they really didn't have much say in who NAMA sold the land to.
On 5 Jul 2015 at 9:02am Trustfund wrote:
What I don't understand is why Artist Chelsea Renton (daughter of former Tory MP), who lives in a massive house up in Offham, doesn't offer all of her friends in vans and buses a space to park on her drive - or maybe on the family estate....???