Lewes Forum thread

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the phoenix theatre

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On 1 Apr 2014 at 4:26pm Chelsea Renton wrote:
The building had not had any events over the winter due to refurbishment finished the day before the fire and the first event of the season. There was a full diary of rehearsals , plays, performances coming up, and the man who ran it had just invested a large amount of money. Furthermore, it was regularly fire-checked etc and nothing was amiss - except for the fact this and all the buildings are run down due to years of limbo. It and the other buildings in the area are occupied by many people working in manufacturing, the arts, community and charitable enterprises - they are there because there is no other affordable workshop/studio and performance space in Lewes.
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On 1 Apr 2014 at 7:19pm moi wrote:
This is a genuine tragedy. I went to look at the charred remains and it reminded me of Brighton West Pier.
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On 1 Apr 2014 at 7:42pm Brian Dean wrote:
I'm very sorry for the man who has invested in the business and has had all his hard work undone by the terrible accident. I am also very sorry for the artists who lost their work in the blaze.
I did however wanted to pick up on a couple of things you said Chelsea. This business about the buildings being fire-checked, I'm sure that is true but as one of the band members who was in the building at the time said " if this had happened when the party had started there would have been deaths". By this he meant the speed in which the fire took hold. Is the flammability of the building taken into account when a fire certificate is issued? I'm only guessing but would think not. It's probably more about fire exits etc.
My problem with what is currently going on down the Phoenix at the moment is that many of the industrial units are not being used for the purpose they were put up for. Converting these units into venues where a couple of hundred people can rock up for a party or a gig or a play is all ways going to be dodgy regardless of weather of not it has the required certification. I mean who are all these people who seem to be living down there. Are they registered with council, do they pay council tax do they pay rent do they have insurance. If their accommodation were white caravans and the inhabitants spoke with an Irish accent would the community be as understanding as what they seem to be with this lot who live in buses and lorries.
The very sad incident last Saturday evening should be a line in the sand with regards to certain units and behaviour within the phoenix. I have a feeling it probably will be.
The second point I wanted to pick you up on Chelsea is that considering the size of the town there are a lot of studio/ performance spaces all of which I would say are very affordable.
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On 1 Apr 2014 at 7:56pm bastian wrote:
Sorry, but they studio spaces inLewes are not generally afforable, if you mean the Paddock or the Star brewery.
Also, I am sorry you lost your instruments, it is a tradgedy. Are you a reletive of Roger, if so ,he exhibited in the foundary gallery a few years ago, next door. If you don't like alternative ways of living, fine, just say so, not everyone wants to live in a house, paying soemone elses mortgage for them, the one thing you can say about people who live in vans and buses is, they are home owners (outright), it's not just about land ownership, good on them for thinking outside the box. The skill base amoung them is vast, but you don't kbnow them, do you, just make assumptions based on what you imagine or have been told.No one has been left in any doubt that it could have been worse in an hours time.
Chelsea, I heard you lost all your art work, I amtruely sorry for you, that is appalling.
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On 1 Apr 2014 at 8:27pm Brian Dean wrote:
Sorry Bastian I personally didn't loose any instruments and my brother isn't Roger. Your mistaking me for someone else.
My point about the people in Buses and vans is that they are living in an area designed as a working space not a living space or a venue space.
Sorry to here about all your work Chelsea. please don't take what I have written as being offensive to anyone down there. My problem is the fact that they seem to be legally down there when clearly many of the spaces they are living and working in are not designed for purpose.
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On 1 Apr 2014 at 10:30pm local wrote:
Personally living near this site is quite difficult for me at the moment as we find that loud music playing until the early hours keeps our 3 month old baby and me and my wife awake at the weekends. I have lived in lewes for 14 years and I am incredibly frustrated being neighbours with the inhabitants of the site as they don't appear to think about people in my situation. I also worry about all of these people living in this area and the potential for further accidents as fires seem to be regularly lit outside the bildings backing on to the river.
 
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On 1 Apr 2014 at 11:01pm Zlod wrote:
OK. Any relation to James then?
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 8:44am curious wrote:
Did the recent refurbishment include a new fire detection system? I agree that not everywhere can have a sprinkler system, but I would have thought something like smoke or heat detectors linked into an alarm to warn people of a fire would be a must, especially if you are having 200 people on site.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 8:47am Long time Lewes Resident wrote:
Local I agree with you I live the other side of the river but we are kept awake some times until 5am at weekend, also the noise from the Drums all day long at the weekends.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 9:47am Monty Don is Sexy wrote:
These people should have respect for other residents. I would hope that legally these people should not be living in run down commercial buildings.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 1:07pm Resident too wrote:
The user base for the units down there is quite a lot more diverse than is suggested here. And very few and being lived in - if at all.
There is an awful lot of interesting stuff that had happened in the phoenix generally. I reallise that many lewes residents may not be aware of it, and some may feel alienated by it, but the faciltiies are widely used within the town, albeit if only by a section of the community. The use demonstrates that there is need for more artists space, proper venues etc. within the town, if and when this goes.
I for one (a respectable professional) will be sad when it goes, i have been to lots of events down there that would be noteworthy even in london, new york or paris. It will be a real loss to this town.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 1:30pm Merlin Milner wrote:
R2, I agree. I have used the facilities for band rehearsals, seeing concerts, galleries and parties.
Lewes is becoming sanitised from being a working town to a place where cheap work spaces are become expensive housing. Cliffe is losing the last garage / workshops down Timberyard lane. When North street is developed there will be very little. Businesses, especially those in the art world, need cheap facilities. However this gentrification is happening throughout the South East driven by ridiculous property prices. Lewes is going through what happened to Shoreditch and Notting hill Gate, where the artists, local residents, artisans and small businesses are replaced by expensive property.
However it is difficult to know what to do locally. This is a national problem and until property prices become sensible we will continue to have these problems.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 1:37pm Border Control wrote:
Seems to me the 'artists' want to be in a hip groovy place, but don't want to pay hip groovy prices ! Move to Newhaven.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 2:29pm Merlin Milner wrote:
BC. Often it is the artists who make a place hip and groovy only to be replaced by boring corporates. Then the place ceases to be hip and groovy.
We need social housing, good value work spaces and the ability for local residents' children to able to continue to live in Lewes when they leave home. Sadly most of the problem goes back to the right to buy and the sale monies not being allowed to go back into building more Council houses.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 3:28pm Lewes30 wrote:
The building is currently being demolished, I can't see that anybody would get permission to rebuild on the site, and why would you want to, the whole area is a complete mess, I think as was said in an earlier post, if the people liveing on the industrial estate where in white caravans they would soon be removed, but because these people are "artists" the council and other authorities turn the other cheek.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 4:32pm bastian wrote:
Merlin you have said all the things many of us have been thinking, especially when we have been to the Santon meetings, it is not only blandsville, but none of our children stand a chance of living in them. I don't expect the voicier persons like border control will be ble to either, or able to rent them as they will go at a premium price.
Artists are not trying to be special, they just od things abit differnently, but that's the problem, people don't like odd people, they feel more comfortable with what they know and understand;artists think outside the box.
Believe me, not many people live IN the buildings, they are freezing and damp.
Also, they are work places, where are all the poeple going to go who work on the industrial estate, they haven't all been allocated units elsewhere, so it's houses vs industry. That estate has always been there, going back a century, it is peoples attitudes that have changed, they don't want nasty untidy industriale states full of nasty working class people near them any more.
Who do you think makes your expensive soap?
It's not just arts, as an estate, everyone gets on down there, the actual industry and the artists, that's community.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 5:15pm carmen20 wrote:
I know a few people who have worked very hard to make that place inviting to the community ,their are several different units down there being used by a lot of local artists and bands of all walks of life ,and some are teachers ,teaching the next generation their skills ,and to slate such people for finding affordable studio time and space is narrow minded, the noise caused by some of the units must be frustrating have you made them aware of the issue by way of speaking with them?
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 5:24pm Border Control wrote:
I've recently visited that whole North Street, Phoenix area and quite frankly was amazed at how sad, dilapidated and run down the whole area is. Those in authority should be ashamed of the place, I was. I appreciate the country has been in the doldrums for quite a few years now, but this area has obviously been declining for at least 20 years or more. There needs to be some central plan to regenerate the area and bring in firms large and small, some incentives to encourage employment and investment. what official department is supposed to do that in our town ? I'd get all our Councillors,( from all the 3 councils !) down there and have a walk about just to see exactly what Lewes is missing out on !! And make it a priority. Things are moving in the country now and we need to step up to the mark quickly, before we miss the boat again.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 6:13pm Monty Don is Sexy wrote:
turn it into allotments and green spaces. Why do 'artists' deserve special treatment??????????????????
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 8:09pm Ed Can Do wrote:
Border Control, the local councils don't have that kind of power. Maybe before they flogged the land off they might have had a say in it's use but now, it's mostly privately owned land and other than the traditionally woefull work of the planning department, the council effectively can't do anything to influence what goes up there. The fact is Santon are in the business of making money and the quickest and easiest way to do this is to chuck up a bunch of identikit "Luxury" houses for as cheap as possible, big enough for families then advertise them in Islington. They literally don't care about Lewes other than as a revenue stream and the site will never make anything like as much money as business space as it will as horrible houses.

It's only a matter of time but eventually another Barrat estate style legoland will go up there at half a million a pop. The only thing that will stop it is the National Park people managing to knock it back enough times for Santon to get bored and to sell it on to another property developer to start the whole cycle again. Expecting any of our councils to do more than wring their hands and send out newsletters about it blaming each other is naive in the extreme.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 8:19pm Solicitor wrote:
Two words Compulsory Purchase. For the benefit of the community and industry. Councils, Career Politican get your backsides in gear.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 9:03pm hip n groovy wrote:
this hip and groovy artist has a house paid for by hip and groovy art (although I am not sure some of the people on site are hip or groovy). the reason credible tax paying artists work where they do is because you would not expect them to be in high premium high street shops or offices, would you?
when this area is redeveloped I expect it will be goodbye to a lot of useful working spaces, but since the town is already turning into the kind of bland style-page cliche that trendy artists don't like, I suspect they will go somewhere else that wants them, and I don't blame them.
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On 2 Apr 2014 at 11:15pm lewes wrote:
Not being funny but 340 homes versus an art hub seems like a good idea after all the whole country has a housing shortage. Art is great but we need to get the priorities straight after all where will our kids live? We live right next to brighton and as far as im aware that is full of art. Do we also need to fill every single small town and village full of art until we are saturated by it. I mean why lewes. Is that what lewes is historically all about? Im not so sure and I dont see why it is top priority over providing homes for hardworking people. Extra houses will even out the prices and help local people onto the property ladder.
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On 3 Apr 2014 at 1:49am ResidentToo wrote:
Well, the rest of the country seems to see lewes as pretty arty. Look at the sunday times a few weeks ago, lewes as the 11th beat place to live in the yk - the accompanying text raved on about lewes being 'arty' and 'alternative'. Look at this, from the commuters guide.
Ultimately the most economically successful places in the western world, from san francisco and east london to resurgent cities like berlin or manchester, have strong art sectors. Its not either or, you know. Try reading richard florida.

Check it out here »
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On 3 Apr 2014 at 8:14am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
One of the great things about Lewes is its "artiness" imo. It's one of the things that makes it different and special. Affordable premises for people to work in are necessary for that. Once they go, and all available space used for uninspired (and uninspiring) housing development, Lewes will be more like Haywards Heath with a historic high street (except it probably still won't have an M&S or a Waterstones).
Lewes desperately needs housing, but not housing of the like that Santon are proposing and it needs to be truly affordable. With 2-bed flats at a new development called Clayhill Court sold out before they've been built at 240k a shot, that simply isn't going to happen.
How many local young people can afford those sort of prices?
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On 3 Apr 2014 at 9:50am Southover Queen wrote:
I agree, ACT. If you look at the history of artistic colonies in London, you'll quickly see that arty types will take over a run down and under-appreciated area which no-one else cares about which then rapidly becomes a "fashionable" area with prices to match. Examples would be Chelsea, Hampstead, Shoreditch and Hackney. My impression is that there are a couple of factors which make it attractive to "non-artists", and that would be good quality housing stock renovated by the colonists and a certain "alternative" cachet. The sad thing is that - in London at any rate - being identified by the market as a fashionable trendy place to live has the effect of destroying the whole magic incomers are seeking.

"Affordable housing for local people" isn't going to happen, unless there is a sudden increase in social housing construction or the local authorities decide to subsidise it in the Santon scheme. That's because land values are just too high. Building lots more houses isn't going to affect the market much either: it will just mean that there's more housing for people with deep pockets.
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On 3 Apr 2014 at 10:26am Another B and B lady wrote:
Water stones is coming to Lewes . Dial house possibly...
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On 3 Apr 2014 at 10:58am Border Control wrote:
FYI Waterstones is now owned by a Russian billionaire. That'll raise the property prices. Every cloud etc etc.
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On 3 Apr 2014 at 6:05pm on the ladder wrote:
SQ said: "Building lots more houses isn't going to affect the market much either: it will just mean that there's more housing for people with deep pockets."
Um ... supply? Demand?
Sound grasp of economics you have.
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On 3 Apr 2014 at 6:42pm Southover Queen wrote:
Er... well unless you're going to build a couple of million units, no it won't. Or are you seriously telling me that building a few hundred dwellings in the Phoenix area will reduce the price of a house in the Pells? I don't think so, unless the new build stuff ruins the environment.

Here's a thing: Lewes is not the world. Lewes is a small town where there's a pretty inexhaustible demand for housing driven by factors which extend way beyond the boundaries of BN7. I say again: unless the state in some guise decides to subsidise the cost of housing for "local people" (good luck with that, by the way) adding a few hundred more in the Phoenix isn't going to change anything.

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On 3 Apr 2014 at 7:07pm Clifford wrote:
lewes wrote: '... homes for hardworking people.'
Where are the people who don't work hard going to live? How much longer are we going to have to hear this politicians' hackneyed 'hardworking people' rolled out for every subject under the sun?
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On 3 Apr 2014 at 8:10pm Mungo wrote:
What a surprise, Clifford is a work shy fop. Bless him.
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On 4 Apr 2014 at 1:20pm Clifford wrote:
Well spotted Mungo. This will probably interest you:

Check it out here »
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On 4 Apr 2014 at 4:23pm bastian wrote:
clifford, you are so right, we are all lazy scum- actually, I am concious of the fact that I slip up with typos all the time, it's because I am exhausted from work most of the time, but work does not always come with cash attached to it, it's still work. For example:
A woman looking after her elderly mother and two kids whilst trying to keep an income coming in to the house of say-under the tax limit due to duties, is not lazy, she's hard working but she is not paid for what she does. Is she lazy? or is she hard working but poor?
personally it's just c*cks who work in London and think no one works harder than them that are the problem.
 
 
On 4 Apr 2014 at 7:22pm Mungo wrote:
I was only joking Clifford and thanks for the link, I know exactly what the correspondent means.
Got to say though Red Ed has got to loose this cost of living crisis thing. Everyone across the board is fed up with it, it's all he says.
This is the reason Farage is doing so well, people don't seem to be bothered what he's saying it's the fact that what he is saying is different that they like. Even though he is a fruit loop.
 
 
On 4 Apr 2014 at 9:34pm bastian wrote:
Fruit loop, on that we agree.


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