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Lewes Forum thread

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On 15 Dec 2008 at 10:30am Homes best wrote:
Is it true that the Sussex Express are closing their Lewes office and relocating elsewhere?
On 15 Dec 2008 at 12:23pm local town resident wrote:
aparently so. maybe they got fed up with the parking too! it is clear that Lewes has become a place that doesn't welcome or encourage jobs and businesses, just commutors, french twine vendors and coffee shops. The irony is that without offices like Sussex express, and County Hall, there will be fewer clients for the coffee shops leaving even more empty shops for french twine, or house conversions!
On 15 Dec 2008 at 6:37pm Lewes Laugher wrote:
Lewes - well on the way to becoming a dormitory town for commuters working in London. Perhaps that's what LDC wants - it would be interesting to know where their senior officers live.
On 16 Dec 2008 at 2:34am Lopster wrote:
what can be done to stop the rot -we must club together when elections come round at the very least - who should we be lobbying?
On 16 Dec 2008 at 8:25am Mystic mo wrote:
What have County Hall and the Sussex Express got to with LDC and local County Councillors in this context?
On 16 Dec 2008 at 9:51am sashimi wrote:
Mystic Mo, if, as is suggested, the insane parking scheme is the reason for the pull out from Lewes of the Sussex Express, LDC and the local county councillors have everything to do with it. The scheme was introduced by the County Council with the full endorsement and approval of LDC (who then quadrupled the rates for offstreet parking). Cllr St Pierre warmly welcomed it at the committee meeting that adopted the scheme and read out a letter from Cllr Chartier who was then the member for Lewes division who was equally enthusiastic about it. The parking scheme has been a disaster for Lewes. I don't mind those who originally thought it would work changing their minds. But I resent it when they make out they were against it all along.
On 16 Dec 2008 at 10:26am Mystic Mog wrote:
Is there a statement to that effect from the Sussex Express? Would be interested in reading it.
Also do you have a link or reference for the meeting?
On 16 Dec 2008 at 12:03pm Gentleman Jim wrote:
I'm sorry gang. The most likely reason for the Express' rumoured move out of Lewes is their plummeting sales and the fact that they are part of a larger group of newspapers centred on Horsham. It makes economic sense to form larger units to weather an economic storm.
I know conspiracy theories about LDC and their officers are more fun, but are based on nothing but sheer conjecture. The economic realities may be a more boring cause, but are infinitely more likely.
On 16 Dec 2008 at 1:14pm local town resident wrote:
um.. Gentleman Jim I said 'maybe'
I hate to burst your 'nothing wrong with Lewes' bubble, but do you not wonder why the County town of Sussex, cannot compete with Horsham of all places for a Sussex newspaper office? Sussex Express has seen fit to keep an office here for decades, pressumably for a reason, but something has changed it's mind, and I can only imagine, that Lewes is not considered a preferable place to base a newspaper publishing business, whilst Horsham is. That means that there is possibly something unattractive about Lewes to businesses, that we are failing to change. Sussex Express is not the first in recent years to bail on us, and it now looks like we will be losing the County Hall, from the county town, and all the associated wealth that attracts. People are asking why is this happening to Lewes now, when it has been a hub of county activity for centuries? Do you know what foresight is, GJ?
Who would start a business, or keep a business in a town, which is seeking to approve relocating its central business and industrial premises from a flood plain to..... a flood plain? Do you not understand how businesses make decisions about where to locate? Maybe we should be pitching for 'canoe companies' and 'businesses that have no deliveries, drivers, or employees and customers that need reasonable and fair parking somewhere? I personally know of two growing companies who have moved out of Lewes in the past year, specifically because of the parking, and the better facilities offered (in both cases), in Brighton.
Your claim that mistakes, and failures by LDC Officers that the lucid people of 'lewes forum' are referring to, are conjecture, but your unsubstantiated claim is actually conjecture in itself. Unfortunately despite efforts by officers, and worse, councillors, to control the emergence of embarassing mistakes by the Council, It is finally becoming apparent to everyone, including the 'Friends of Lewes' how LDC's idiotic 'mistakes' have been, and are affecting the town. You however, seem strangely enthusiastic, to give a different impression.Why don't you ask Cllr Peter Gardiner why he was/still is improperly advising Councillors they could not meet with residents to listen to their planning concerns? You might also ask why the entire PAC wrongly considered the Council's own Listed building application last month, in contravention of the law. Is that conjecture?, or 'Gentleman Jim', do you not understand how Councils should be working either?
Talk of Conspiracy theories is best left to loony people like, for example topless modelling self proclaimed witches, such as Lib Dem candidate of choice, Marina 'my bunny and me' Pepper.
On 16 Dec 2008 at 1:31pm Gentleman Jim wrote:
Erm....ok. Don't think I said any of those things. I have not defended the council(s) in any way, just don't really see what it's got to do with them. I am merely suggesting that there was a much more likely reason for the Express to be leaving the town than others were suggesting. As you point out the Express has been in Lewes for decades yet now they have (allegedly) decided to move. That suggests that there is a new variable that has forced the newspaper's hand. The parking scheme has been around for some years now so is an unlikely culprit, so I humbly suggest that the papers poor sales combined with Britain's economic slump may be a more likely reason.
On 16 Dec 2008 at 1:38pm therealalekid wrote:
Apologies, it's been a long time since I've worked or even been to the Sussex Express offices and this is the first time I have heard this news.
I do however think that some people are jumping to conclusions. Homes Best says that the offices are closing down, Local Town Resident puts it down to the parking? But, why what have you heard as it seems strange to me. I can understand companies like Seymours struggling due to the parking as it may put off people coming to the town. But, the Express offices consists of people trying to produce a newspaper most of whom live locally and even walk to work (I did). I'm nit sure how the parking would affect them as they do not sell from the offices and the only people who go there are employees.
On 16 Dec 2008 at 1:47pm could be wrote:
It could be something to do with the value of the parent group Johnston Press losing over 90% of its value in the last year, down from £1.6bn to under 50m a couple of weeks ago. Their advertising income has dropped as there isn't a lot of demand to advertise houses, cars or jobs at the moment, but there costs have probably not.
On 16 Dec 2008 at 1:57pm Mystic Mog wrote:
GJ, I agree. Just look at the property section of the Sx Exp. Down from a sizable tome to 4 sides of paper.
LTR apart from what the County and District Councils have or have not done, what else would you suggest be reasons for businesses, Country Hall and the Sx Exp leaving? I am not derfending either council but there may be other important factors.
On 16 Dec 2008 at 2:05pm Steve Barryson wrote:
Argus sales have gone down from 150,000 to 30,000 over the last 25 years according to a speaker on the Today programme last month. The Sussex Express are in an even worse position - they recently merged the Seaford and Newhaven editions, and made several staff redundant. They have falling advertising revenue and falling sales. They are not 'relocating' to Horsham, that's already where most of the staff who put the paper together are including the editor. Its a straight-forward saving and I wouldn't think it has anything to do with parking or anything else. The poor staff in Lewes have had to cobble together the editions here with fewer and fewer resources. Has anyone had it confirmed that they are moving?
On 17 Dec 2008 at 1:04am Local Town resident wrote:
"I know conspiracy theories are more fun'
what conspiracy theories are you referring to then?
Many local papers are suffering,, but this one is chosing to struggle somewhere else, and not Lewes, where it has had an office, through thick and thin for many, many years. What has hailsham got, that Lewes hasn't?
The point I am making, (not the one you would like me to be making), is that yet another business is going, and it is not the first of a very obvious downward trend that started some time ago. Other towns, will be suffering a recession, with a stronger, business sector, and not looking at the loss of a County Hall into the bargain. This is the County yown, for goodness, sake, but i wouldn't keep the offices here, with current infrastructure, so I can understand why a move is being considered if not inevetable.
The lack of thought about anything in Lewes, other than from the point of view of fund raising, has as someone above has said, left us turning into a dormitory town. We have a weak, vulnerable, and declining business sector, which given the wealth of development over the past decade should bring shame and embarassment to planners.
MM, put the question the other way round, what reasons are there to stay in Lewes, instead of move elsewhere, or chose elsewhere? Why rpay for flood insurance, and take that risk, when you can find dry premises? Why stay in Lewes, when you can get a unit with good parking, elsewhere? We can't just expect job opportunities to stay in Lewes because it is a lovely town, with a station!
On 17 Dec 2008 at 8:35am Mystic Mog wrote:
It is not all doom and gloom!. It is interesting that Gorringes, who were going to move because of the parking scheme, have decided to stay and refurbish their premises. Application Solutions, a successful software and electronics manufacturing company, were going to move but have instead expanded at Cliffe Industrial Estate.
I would hazard a guess that the Sx Exp is moving for commercial consolidation reasons.
County Hall move is triggered by Lewes being at one end of Sussex (poor reason), not Tory, County Hall in dispair, new hot desk policy and satelite offices, Brighton no longer part of East Sussex.
Finally I think it is best to look at businesses individually rather than have "one fits all" explanation. Therefore to ask why stay, would be a question specific to the business. For example it is easier to explain why Bill's would stay over Pizza Express.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 9:48am Lewes Laugher wrote:
As i said, Lewes will be a pretty place where mostly out of town workers sleep. However, thanks to LDC and the developers it may become an ugly place where...
On 17 Dec 2008 at 10:14am Mystic Mog wrote:
OK how do you suggest we stop that legally?
On 17 Dec 2008 at 12:24pm Lewes Laugher wrote:
Perpetual vigilance and constant pressure on the LDC. Can you think of anything illegal that might also help?
On 17 Dec 2008 at 12:46pm Mystic Mog wrote:
Do not forget ESCC: incinerator, parking scheme, County Hall.............
On 17 Dec 2008 at 1:20pm Steve Barryson wrote:
Lewes Town Resident - you've been misinformed. Its Horsham not Hailsham, and what it has is the headquarters of the newspaper office that owns the Sussex Express. It also has horrendous parking.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 1:22pm Frank Keys wrote:
Lewes Town Resident - you are a right plonker. Why would a newspaper office need good parking? County hall is moving because the Tory leader Peter Jones can't be bothered to drive from Rye to Lewes.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 1:29pm sashimi wrote:
Mystic Mog, I agree with a lot of your second to last post. Gorringes changed their mind because their new landlord kept moving the goalposts and the nice deal they were being offerred for their site on the Phoenix was beginning to look less and less likely. And, yes it makes a lot of sense for the County Council to move for the reasons you've given. But retailers have been affected by the parking scheme. But you ask how LDC can stop developers from making the town a more ugly place. By finding the bottle to dig their feet in and refuse inappropriate planning applications. In the case of Lewes House, they weren't even constrained by planning law as they owned the site and with a little more competence and resolution they could have required the developer to build the prize-winning development they selected. For the 125 flat development in Southdowns Road they could have insisted on a proportion of affordable homes for rent. They could at least have called the 28 house stage 2 development at Clayhill Nurseries to question why it should be built when the stage 1 development wasn't selling - rather than leaving it to the officers. And when developers flout the conditions of their planning permission as they have on the Circa Fish site, they should resolutely enforce them if necessary by requiring that they demolish illegal structures.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 1:53pm Frank Keys wrote:
I think most of the planned developments will be stalled by the economic crisis so the NIMBY crowd will be delighted as Lewes becomes increasingly old and irrelevant. I think its a shame - shops will suffer from less people living in the town.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 1:59pm Lewes Laugher wrote:
'fewer people' Frank, fewer.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 2:14pm Merlin Milner wrote:
LTC had the developers along to show a revised Clayhill stage 2 before submitting revised plans. Their slot was advertised in the agenda (on front of Town Hall and on the LTC website). Shame no one from the public were there, disappointing after the town meeting last week and me reminding the attendees about LTC planning meetings.
Most people agree that the paking scheme is inappropriate and so do I.

On 17 Dec 2008 at 2:36pm Frank Keys wrote:
Thanks Lewes Laugher. It must be nice to know everything about planning AND grammar. The evenings must just fly by in your house.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 2:52pm Lewes Laugher wrote:
Glad to be of assistance Frank.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 3:37pm sashimi wrote:
Merlin, Mystic Mog's question was what could the DISTRICT Council do legally [to stop Lewes becoming an ugly place]. I said the should find the bottle to do the right thing. Now you say I should have gone to the TOWN Council meeting to find out more about the Clayhill Hill development. Well, actually, I did and I heard how the houses were being built in Bavaria, shipped to England and would save the developers 16 local jobs. But, as you know the TOWN Council has absolutely no planning powers and is usually ignored by LDC Planning Committee. So what's the point you are making?
On 17 Dec 2008 at 4:34pm Merlin Milner wrote:
There were no public at last night's planning meeting (apart fro 2 who were their regarding the Kings church and the Clayhill developers). You must have been at a meeting in a parallel universe or just confused. LTC have no direct planning powers but we are a atatutory body that's comments go to planning and often precipitate the comittee to discuss the application rather than being handled by devolved powers. Also there are members of the LTC planing comittee who are Councillors for LDC and ESCC. This can only help when they hear the public's view at the LTC planning meetings. So the point is that the LTC has indirect influence and that you and other members of the public should contribute at our meetings. I am sure that many of us would like to see the return of Lewes Borough Council. However this is not going to happen soon. So in this imperfect world we have to make the best of what is available. LTC is a useful contributor to the planning process and should be supported.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 8:04pm Geoff wrote:
I think we all agreed some time ago that NIMBY is an insulting expression to use to describe people in Lewes who are fed up seeing Lewes District Council incorrectly processing planning applications, ignoring their own policies, and refusing to listen to Residents views as part of a required consultation process. If there are people (so called by the 1980's expression NIMBY'S) who don't want something in 'their own back yard' but want it somewhere else, I would be interested to know who they are.
Merlin is correct to suggest that LTC comments would benefit from local support, and should be teated seriously. Unfortunately the rot has set in, LTC's own comments have been omitted over the past few years from some reports, and are regularly ignored, and contradicted by planning reports in the same disresepectful, and biased way that residents views are. Do Lewes residents realise that a planning report should be completely impartial? Anyone unfamiliar with the blatant report contained in LDC reports would be shocked. Unfortunately, residents are very jaded, and it is going to take a lot of work to pursuade them to turn up to an LTC meeting. LDC can't even include material considerations from theESCC Highways, or consult the fire Authority. Let us remind ourselves of the 'Yellow House' saga when LTC comments went missing. Meanwhile LDC statutory notifications were delivered the day before a planning meeting by hand, and too late for many objectors wishing to speak or attend the meeting,, whilst an officer also had been round incorrectly advising some neighbours that their comments would not be considered anyway.
I attended a planning meeting a while ago, at which a Newick Council member berated LDC officers for omitting Newicks comments, once again, from a report and asking why his colleagues should waste their time providing a view if they were going to be ignored. At some point we are going to have to acknowledge that until LDC planning department gets its act together, the hard honest work of LTC and residents is going to be poorly rewarded. Councillors meeting with residents to discuss such issues would be a good start, but this is unlikely to happen, until Cllr Gardiner makes it clear that his advice has been incorrect and such meetings can take place. He is a Lib Dem Councillor, so perhaps Merlin might ask him to correct this ongoing injustice.
LDC could be doing lots of things to improve the protection of the Conservation Area. Unfortunately our officers are always looking for legislation to support their developer bias or mistakes. I think a recent correspondence in the Sussex Express, concerning a wall, made that point rather clearly. Sadly, Lewes is known as a soft touch for 106 agreements, which should be protecting us from loss of facilities and benefits. The HQ gallery is a good example. LDC could easily have used legislation to protect an open space that an earlier Lewes Council had actually created through demolition of buildings on that site.. Instead LDC chose to fall over backwards to assist Rees Elliot's desire to maximise profit potentiual with a clearly unwanted gallery. This mess ensued long after planning permission was contoversially given, and yes, we do know about the rather naughty behaviour of two councillors and their voting behaviour, because one of them was naive, and angry enough to let slip to residents what had happened.It is to LTC's credit that they have vocally opposed the change of this silly gallery, into even more publicly useless offices. LDC however lose whatever credibiltiy they may have left when they require this gallery to remain, as they have already turned theor own public gallery into offices through a change of use application.
How LDC Councillors think they can have any credibility whilst this kind of rubbish is going on, is anyone's guess. It is about time that Lib Dem District Councillors started supporting their town equivalents, because at the moment they are causing no end of damage to their colleagues chances at the next election. What Norman baker must think of this shower is anyones guess. I pressume he lost hope when Marina Pepper flashed her breast, waved her wand, and was selected.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 8:08pm Bad Santa wrote:
I thought this thread was about Sx Express? Why has it now turned into a planning/LDC issue. Start your own thread, stop hijacking others!
On 17 Dec 2008 at 8:23pm Interested wrote:
And the winner of the longest post so far is......
Seriously though,I'm finding this thread very inteesting because it is something I know little about.
Thanks for that Geoff.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 9:08pm Cat wrote:
If Lib Dems acted together and were "whipped" in voting for or against any application or indeed supported their colleagues views on the town council, they would be guilty of having shown what is known as "fettered discretion".This is specifically disallowed, planning decisions must be apolitical. So it's not much use blaming councillors of any particular political party. The quality of the members of the planning committee may well be an issue, from what I have observed, but it is not related to political affiliation as far as I can tell. No one party seems to have a monopoly on the incompetence they display.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 9:53pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I think Frank may well be right about the real reason for the county coucnil moving out of town though. It not being in the centre of the county is irrelevant imo. West Sussex have managed perfectly with Chichester for years, and it's practically in Hampshire. Surrey County Council HQ is in Kingston on Thames, which hasn't been in Surrey since 1965.
It will be a huge waste of our council tax imo.
On 17 Dec 2008 at 9:58pm Spinster Of This Parish wrote:
In addition to Geoff's tried and trusted wisdom, there are some good posts on this thread.
Merlin - thoroughly agree that LTC's comments are valuable contributions to the LDC planning process. I remember that you were the only councillor (LTC, LDC or ESCC) that was prepared to support your electorate in the (Baxter's) Printworks Pantomine. I always mean to attend the LTC planning meetings - is there any chance that you could pop a post on here reminding us when they are scheduled?
On 17 Dec 2008 at 9:59pm Spinster Of This Parish wrote:
In addition to Geoff's tried and trusted wisdom, there are some good posts on this thread.
Merlin - thoroughly agree that LTC's comments are valuable contributions to the LDC planning process. I remember that you were the only councillor (LTC, LDC or ESCC) that was prepared to support your electorate in the (Baxter's) Printworks Pantomine. I always mean to attend the LTC planning meetings - is there any chance that you could pop a post on here reminding us when they are scheduled?
(Apologies for doubling up - it looks like ACT beat me to it)
On 18 Dec 2008 at 9:13am sashimi wrote:
Merlin, I know your heart's in the right place. But you've no right to patronise me and call me a liar. I was at an LTC Planning meeting some time ago when the developers of Clayhill made a presentation. If there have been others, I have missed them. I occasionally come to your meetings but when LTC stopped putting the list of what was coming up on their website around Sept 2007, I rather lost interest. Yes, I would prefer it if LTC was the Planning Authority: I don't see why councillors from the Coast should decide what gets built in Lewes or vice versa. But they aren't and, with a few notable exceptions, we have been very poorly served by LDC who when they consider major applications don't even bother to debate them in public.
On 18 Dec 2008 at 12:09pm Frank Keys wrote:
We didn't all agree that NIMBY was an insulting term. One poster said he was proud to be a NIMBY. The NIMBY-ness is opposing any new housing developments in Lewes while ignoring the fact that the town has been largely protected against development compared to the other towns in the district it shares such as peacehaven, newhaven and seaford. Even developments such as Lewes House which had a high proportion of affordable housing were opposed on supposed inappropriateness.
On 18 Dec 2008 at 12:22pm Merlin Milner wrote:
OK Sashimi I think we were on cross purposes about specific meetings. Not meant to offend
Details of all LTC meetings can be found here
dub dub
On 18 Dec 2008 at 4:45pm sashimi wrote:
OK Merlin. Pax
On 18 Dec 2008 at 4:56pm Merlin Milner wrote:
On 18 Dec 2008 at 6:10pm No Pot Pourri wrote:
This is the wrong kind of forum for that type of talk!
On 18 Dec 2008 at 9:46pm Nullify wrote:
Non sidi sed omnibus.
On 18 Dec 2008 at 10:54pm geoff wrote:
Frank, you might want to read the whole of my sentence again. it says that 'I thought we were all agreed some time ago that NIMBY is an insulting expression to describe people in lewes who....etc"
You also fall into the evidenceless trap of claiming that because residents are against overdevelopment in Lewes, that they somehow think that other towns should have it instead. Complete Rubbish!
I would go as far to say that it is rather snobby of anyone to suggest that Lewes residents would be so malicious. You sound as if you think 'Lewes should be swamped with development, as some kind of revenge, because other towns have already been blighted, and it is not fair. It is not just Lewes Councillors who have been trashing the District, it is all of them, including those from all the places you mention. Just attend a planning meeting. And it certainly isn't lewes residents piling planning development misery on towns that don't want it. Pitching one town agains another is pointless, we all have the same problem, with Lewes residents, rather late in the day, being possiblt the most vocal. You are also failing to acknowledge that many residents welcome development, especially of the Phoenix site, but at sustainable, and reasonable levels that doesn't place others at risk of flooding. Given the devestation to 700 properies, and the horrendous impact that had on the owners lives, I don't think that is unreasonable for people to be so concerned. .Or maybe, like our Councillors, you are not interested in listening to such people, and have no sympathy with what they have to say about their genuine worries of building even more in the worst hit part of town.
I think that it might be a good idea to dump the meaningless cliche's such as 'NIMBY' as they are not helpful, and use real words instead.
On 18 Dec 2008 at 11:09pm sashimi wrote:
Pax Romana, Merlin
On 18 Dec 2008 at 11:10pm Geoff wrote:
Incidentally, Cat, your point is quite right, Pre arranged, and party voting is not lawful in a Planning Applications Committee
Which is of course why it is so apalling that (see incident referred to in my post above) not only did one Councillor claim that they had engaged in this, but that the Councillor didn't seem to have any idea that what he was revealing was so inappropriate. The other of course did, and was sadly incapable of resigning.
On 18 Dec 2008 at 11:10pm Geoff wrote:
Incidentally, Cat, your point is quite right, Pre arranged, and party voting is not lawful in a Planning Applications Committee
Which is of course why it is so apalling that (see incident referred to in my post above) not only did one Councillor claim that they had engaged in this, but that the Councillor didn't seem to have any idea that what he was revealing was so inappropriate. The other of course did, and was sadly incapable of resigning.
On 19 Dec 2008 at 9:23am Merlin Milner wrote:
You have reminded me why I attained a 'U' in Latin O level. Of course it is "peace OF Rome" hence the 'a' at the end. I shall write it 100 times. Sorry sir.

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