Lewes Forum thread

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Wenbaan Smith development

On 2 Aug 2008 at 7:29pm Local wrote:
At last a bit of sense from the Planning Inspectorate supporting Lewes District Council's rejection of Barratt's application to ruin the Wenban Smith site opposite Harvey's Brewery. ''Overall, I find that the effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the area would be unacceptable.' Perhaps the tide is beginning to turen in the ruination of Lewes. The next battle will be over the Phoenix site - no doubt Angel Property are beginning to have second thoughts about their long-delayed application.
On 3 Aug 2008 at 8:30am Spinster Of This Parish wrote:
I feel this is a token gesture to lure the public into believing that our interests are been looked after. Interestingly, I was speaking with a Planner last night (never thought they would go out in public alone!!!) and they confirmed that they are pawns in the game too - central government decides what IS going ahead regardless and the planners have to arrive at the same decision (probably by bending the rules).
On 3 Aug 2008 at 9:10am sashimi wrote:
There are three reasons why the Barratts application for Wenban Smith should have been rejected. (1) because it was a really crappy design (2) to preserve one of the long term options identified by the Environment Agency to fix flooding in Lewes (widening the river at Cliffe Bridge) and (3), in support of Harvey's objection, that the change of use for the site from commercial/industrial to residential would lead to the new (DFL) inhabitants objecting to the smell and noise of the working brewery opposite. Unfortunately the Council appear to have conceded (2) and (3) and the Inspector has picked up just on (1). So, whoever acquires the Barratt's landholdings just has to put in a proposal for a better designed building and they'll get permission to block any river widening scheme and close down the brewery. We're not out of the woods yet.
On 3 Aug 2008 at 9:43am terry lesser wrote:
Of course it is a token gesture. The District Council are currently in a paranoid state and are buying themselves time to build up their defences. And they are right to be paranoid and they will certainly need those defences because the mood has swung. At the very best we are aware that the District Council are undemocratic, incompetent and secretive and at worst I dare not say in print but we all know. As Terry Thomas would say "They are a complete shower and a bunch of absolute stinkers!".
On 3 Aug 2008 at 12:02pm SHS wrote:
Campaign for keeping places for ALL to work in Lewes - not just office jobs and 'work-live spaces'. The printworks should have been kept as industrial/business, ditto Southover nurseries, bus-station, phoenix etc etc & why not the iron works and ship-building..... We've seen from the Lewes-Uckfield railway report what the government's sole priority is - generate more sources tax and prevent any erosion of the existing tax base. So 1,000 new flats with resident car-drivers will generate more tax than Wenban-Smith.
On 3 Aug 2008 at 2:48pm S.Oliver wrote:
We know that the Council are out of control because the Lead member for Planning, Cllr Gardiner wrote to the Sussex Express accusing Anthony Dicks of failing to support the Council,only to suffer the excrutiating embarassment of discovering that Anthony Dicks is a key member of the Friends of lewes, as per the report in Sussex express this week, and had done just that. Cllr gardiner is very good at getting things wrong, and I understand that he is also very good at failing to answer letters, requests and correspondence.
He is, however, happy to be photographed with planning Officers, and Developers. One wonders how his choices demonstrate his responsiblity to the electorate. He might like to read a copy of the Code of Conduct
It seems the Council is a complete shambles, and is either incompetent, corrupt, or a combination of the two. Does everyone realise that Lewes District Council now apparently has the reputation amongst surrounding Councils as a 'Rotten Borough"?
(Incidentally my understanding is that Southover Nurseries is not an industrial site, and has restricted use, because of its status as a scheduled monument, and can only be used for horticulture)
On 3 Aug 2008 at 3:14pm SHS wrote:
You are of course correct about Southover Nurseries. I was making a general point about the loss of employment opportunities within the town. Not everyone wants to work in shops, restaurants or offices and a good breadth of businesses makes for a good mix of residents, giving local work to many who would otherwise be unemployed or have to commute. Add St Anne's School to the list (now used as a general store for ESCC).
Having seen how important tax revenue is in the published formula for assessing rail schemes (see Lewes-Uckfield thread), I wonder if a similar formula exists for assessing new development proposals like that for the Wenban-Smith site.
On 3 Aug 2008 at 3:33pm S.Oliver wrote:
I would agree. There is no breadth at all, particularly for small businesses requiring a town location, and accessibility that goes with it.
The town has become a hit and miss location that serves some, and disadvatages others. It is a rudderless ship in which the only contact residents have with planning processes is when officers threaten them with court action (and similar) for complaining or when they read an inaccurate letter in a newspaper.
Luckily, at the moment Lewes is a beautiful historic town with wonderful residents. The town is already being being blighted by incompetent Local Governement, and it is only a matter of time before the quality fo the poulation deteriorates along with it.
On 4 Aug 2008 at 10:14am Lewes Laugher wrote:
They say the director of planning hopes to retire to a nice little place in Cornwall. After he's done his bit to destroy Lewes I assume. I won't make the obvious remark about finance.
On 4 Aug 2008 at 11:06pm Ben wrote:
As a relative newcomer I am fascinated by the concept that Lewes is being "ruined" by new development. I imagine the Anglo-Saxons were pretty cheesed off when the Normans built their hideous castle. And what about those Georgians? Pulled down lots of lovely medieval buildings to build their stuff. And so on. Here in 2008 we haven't magically reached a stage at which Lewes is somehow 'finished' or 'full up'. It will, and should, keep evolving and changing.
Having said all that, the Wenban scheme was a shocker and I'm relieved it got refused.
On 5 Aug 2008 at 10:54am Local wrote:
Ben - I thought for a minute there you'd missed the point, but luckily you pulled it back at the last moment. What many of us are against is inappropriate developmet. Of course Lewes has to change and grow - but we're stupid if we don't keep an eye on the take-the-money-and-go developers whe have been trying it on, with LDC's enthusiastic support.
On 5 Aug 2008 at 11:35am Geoff wrote:
I would also point out that Lewes isn't just any old town, it has one of the highest number of Listed Buildings in a concentrated area, and is specially listed as one of the most important 50 towns in Britain.
It also has the distinction of still having no Conservation area assessment (yes we are still waiting) and a lead member for planning who is so undecisive about conservation area issues that he abstains from voting.
The Georgians carefully left most of medieval Lewes intact by building in space on one side. That is why the Norman town layout still survives, and a unique town style has been developed. Buildings have come and gone, but Lewes has never before faced such alien developments being approved with such little consideration.
People live in Lewes for a reason, and that reason is not that they want to live in a town where 750 sweet chesnut clad flats can be built on a flood plain to dominate a nationally important Conservation Area.
On 5 Aug 2008 at 11:38am Ben wrote:
I stand by my point. As an example of what I am getting at, imagine the outrage today if someone proposed building a new Nevills. Would it be "appropriate" to build a whole new estate on a greenfield site on the edge of the Downs? Now put the redevelopment of the Phoenix site in that context.
As an aside, from what I have seen of the Phoenix proposals, they are leagues ahead of the Wenban scheme in terms of design.
On 5 Aug 2008 at 11:40am FA wrote:
Don't forget...Lewes also has the privilege of having more antique shops per head of population than anywhere in the northern hemisphere and more hardressers then people have hair !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On 5 Aug 2008 at 11:59am Local wrote:
Geoff is right to bring up the lack of a conservation area assessment. I've given up badgering the council after the last person responsible happily answered one of my enquiries by ignoring what I said but telling me he was retiring. Which just about sums up the overall LDC attitude.
On 5 Aug 2008 at 5:25pm Mystic Mog wrote:
Barratts are in a pretty bad way anyway, almost bankrupt I hear. So hopefully it may never happen. They might try and sell it with planning(if they get it). Also Wenbans have to find an alternative site to move to in Lewes before anything can happen. They nearly went to where Chandlers is now.
What is more interesting is the Waitrose / Rees Elliott / bus station / Barrett (Wenban) development, ie all these little bits when added together.
On 5 Aug 2008 at 7:39pm Spinster Of This Parish wrote:
Well said Geoff.
I'd like to add that the old Conservation officer only appeared to conserve his energy.
Conservation area assessment - ha!

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