Lewes Forum thread

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Lewes Forum New message

why is Lewes such a great place to live?

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On 26 Nov 2014 at 1:11pm emily walker wrote:
New figures show house prices in Lewes have risen 48% in the past 10 years, one of the biggest rises in the country.
The Argus will be running a feature analysing the figures and looking at what makes Lewes so popular. I would love to hear your views on the best (and worst) things about the town.
Emily Walker
Chief reporter
The Argus
emily.walker@theargus.co.uk
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 1:51pm Clifford wrote:
So soaring house prices because of the demand from London commuters is a great thing is it? I suppose it is if you've got a place to sell here. Otherwise, it's a nightmare for people born here who want to stay here.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 2:00pm Old Bloke wrote:
It isn't that great.
Nice enough yes far as I'm concerned by a town that seems very deluded about how attractive it is.
Very ordinary shopping centre unless you like lace, candles, junk and over priced carrot cake topped off with some awful architecture and an abundance of unused and ugly public buildings.
Please hurry up and build that nice hotel and shops to replace that awful building on Friars Walk, do something with the hippie eyesore that faces the river off North Street, convert the bus garage into something decent finish with the O'Donnell (spelling) as a bail hostel which Lewes so badly needs with the prison nearby
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 2:07pm Lewesian since 1971 wrote:
cos it's a short train ride to London or Brighton..
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 2:35pm the kronic wrote:
Whatever people in Lewes write about their town, the vile, disgusting journos at the Arsegas will write their own version, twisting and lying about anything anyone else writes. Stick to writing about Brighton, we have our own lazy pondlife journos in the form of the Sussex Express.
The Argus...never let the truth get in he way of a good story
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 3:14pm Lewes resident wrote:
Why is Lewes a great place to live....
...well, it's outside the open asylum (i.e. full of assorted wierdos) that has an over-inflated view of its own importance, that calls itself Brighton for one thing....
Secondly it isn't (yet) run by the wierdy-beardy greens, so car traffic can still (just about) use its' streets in rush hours.
Unfortunately however, as has been said, the steep increase in property values is more down to the influx of ex-London dwellers, who seem to move to Lewes to "enjoy the Sussex countryside and lifestyle", but who wish to commute to London dialy, and who then seem(ed) intent on replacing useful local businesses with trendy boutique-type shops selling over-priced "designer tat", as they obviously don't feel at home unless they can pay over the top prices for "artisan" goods, or drink over-priced cups of supposedly "ethically sourced" coffee.
Lewes would been an even greater place to live if the DFL's had stayed away and property prices had risen more modestly, in line with national average :-).
I have no problem with people who move in to the town and work locally, and who genuinely embrace the local lifstyle, but those who move in and price-out genuine locals, and who then also set about making the place "little London by the sea" should stay in London if thats the lifestyle they really want.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 3:31pm Question wrote:
What about Lewes born people who start commuting up to London and earning a good salary? Are they allowed?
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 3:43pm Heil wrote:
Thankfully it's a free country, and Lewes Resident isn't yet the fascist dictator of the People's Republic of Sussex. So if people want to move here from London, commute, set up twine shops and outprice 'real locals' then they are free to do so without asking the permission of Lewes Resident.
How many flipping people can manage to work locally in this day and age anyway? I work in London and there are people within spitting distance of me in the office who live in Grantham and Bristol. Meanwhile, people I know in Lewes who work in Sussex and in Brighton, Bexhill and Crawley -- not Lewes.
Anyway I don't have the option of 'moving back to London' if that's the lifestyle I want - I can't afford a family home there, I'm afraid. I was priced out a while ago, so I suppose in that respect I do sympathise with people priced out of Lewes. But FFS, the housing market nationally is crazy and very few people can afford to live where there want, or near their work.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 3:43pm Humbert wrote:
Lewes is made by the people who live there, that's what makes it great. You only have to look at how many fantastic, community run events take place to see that. From Bonfire to the Football club and much inbetween it's a town run by the people, for the people, and doesn't exclude anyone taking part because of lack of means (ironic considering house prices are now pricing out the people who helped make this fantastic community in the first place).

It's like Brighton used to be when it was non-commercially vibrant. Lewes is teetering on the brink now. There's a lot of people moved in recently who will help it or break it. If they try to make it Little London like a lot of people moving to Brighton did, then they'll break it just like Brighton is arguably more fragmented and less inclusive than it used to be. If they become part of the community and join in then they'll help it.

The big danger to the culture of Lewes is it becoming a dead town during the week if the people who want another train line to get even more commuters into town get their way.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 3:58pm ProfYaffle wrote:
Lewes is really pretty special, I think. It's a beautiful town with an amazing history and ancient buildings, in a spectacular setting in the middle of the most beautiful countryside in southern England. It must have the best collection of pubs in any small town in the country. It has great transport connections to London and Brighton - and is close enough to the latter for a night out on a regular basis. The schools are good. There is an interesting, quirky, bohemian element to Lewes (both old and new residents) which makes it quite different to most towns in the south east, which seem far more conventional. Unlike most small towns, Lewes is full of interesting and eccentric people. And there is, as Humbert said, a great sense of community; people generally seem to care. Plus bonfire. What isn't there to like?
The downside is the housing stock is pretty limited and it's quite small, which is one of the reasons why prices have gone up so much.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 4:10pm Mr Forks wrote:
Because the town is chock full of weirdos and character - please see the comments above for confirmation of this.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 4:17pm trooper wrote:
"Prof Yaffle" I have to agree to a large extent with your view of Lewes.I came to this town after many many years of military service all around the world,and never having had a proper home.I felt as soon as I arrived that I had found that home.I have since made many friends and I enjoy a lifestyle that I have not enjoyed before. I would not live anywhere else.Of course there are faults but all in all this is a GREAT place to live.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 4:34pm Xplorer1 wrote:
Perfect size: big enough to have a good range of shops and services, small enough so you regularly see people you know about the town, and get acquainted with shopkeepers.
Culturally and socially vibrant: lots of stuff going on, always something to do in the evenings and weekends. People CARE about the town, and defend it to the best of their abilities against the philistinisms of the age. So there's the Transition Town movement, Friends of Lewes, the Headstrong Club, local orchestras and choirs and am-dram, loads of concerts, local magazines etc, etc etc. Just loads of STUFF.
Great location: close the coast, in the Downs, close enough to London.
Beautiful countryside around and lots of walks.
Excellent pubs and the world's finest brewery.
Good restaurants and cafes.
Lots of architectural interest: some clever, exciting contemporary buildings (homes mostly), plenty of diverse older buildings. The streetscapes and roofscapes are amazing. Spoiled by postwar travesties like Phoenix Causeway, Clifford Dann's building and County Hall, but you can't have everything.
Great parks: Grange Gardens and the Railwayland reserve.
Lots of characterful independent shops and traders.
Bonfire.

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On 26 Nov 2014 at 5:18pm High Dudgeon wrote:
Typical Argus. Want to know the worst. That's what makes it such a dismal rag to read. Always lead on the negative, no matter how many positives. Lighten up Argus - you used to be really good local paper, challenging but not constantly knocking and sniping.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 5:23pm Mark wrote:
I find it a bit annoying that I can buy a brass-handled walking stick or a Victorian teapot on my doorstep but I have to walk half a mile to buy a newspaper.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 5:31pm Penguin wrote:
Take a look at some pictures of Lewes, Cliffe High Street in particular, from the 70's and 80's and then tell me that things were better before outsiders moved in. I don't want to live in a 'Little London', and I know some, not all, 'DFL's' are up their own backsides, but most incomers, wherever they are from, do embrace and contribute to the town. As far as I am concerned they are very welcome and make the town a better place.
I have to say that - I wasn't born here!
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 6:46pm bastian wrote:
all the shops that used to sell a pint of milk and a loaf of bread are now selling twee, weird white painted furniture and scented candles-that's not the Lewes I remember. It has always been diverse but it is crushed under the weight of what Londoners want to buy to display in their lovely Geogian homes, not what the towns people need (those that are left here).
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 7:18pm Geoff Paddle wrote:
lovely place to live. Fine hotels, the greatest newspaper correspondent Mr J Eccles, an Esso Garage with a minimart. A huge tunnel that still turns me on every time a slide through it on my moped. What more can a man want?
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 7:32pm Old Bloke wrote:
I'm a Londoner and never bought a thing from the assorted junk and candle shops that infest Lewes.
I confess to having bought from Gorringes auctions (the low rent one) but that was furniture (very old) so you can hardly call that twee especially when you consider it was made by real craftsman rather than One Hung Lo in a Chinese sweatshop.
You all seem very prejudiced against people from London despite it being unlikely you know more than a tiny tiny percentage of them. I doubt that more than the same percentage work in London - lots of us come to Lewes with a business that might sometimes bring work to the resident bumpkins. Very well worth their wages as well they are nice people and good workers but then not everyone resident in Lewes is a Guardian reading/believing thought fascist with a penchant for looking down their nose at us peasants as their intellectual inferior.
There's a few of those on here
Be nice to see the back of Ms Toynbee though. Perhaps she could bugger off to her villa in Tuscany where she would be able to see her fellow champagne socialists more often, as they take their frequent holidays from non jobs
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 8:12pm Sussex Jim wrote:
Get into the throbbing heart of Lewes. Visit some of the traditional diverse pubs during the day. Meet the ex-reporter John Eccles; who is a legend in his own lunchtime. Visit the farmers' market in the pedestrian precinct on the first Saturday of the month. Go and see diverse bands at the Con Club (no longer just a Tory club).
The list goes on. Far better than visiting that seething decaying "city" where the trains terminate, to the south-west. It's just a resort- the last resort.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 8:13pm postwar travesty wrote:
Phoenix causeway a travesty - FFS - if they`d built the bypass and snail tunnel earlier, and no causeway the traffic could have still gone down the Cliffe - and of course the infamous Uckfield line could have remained . ,How good would that be now ? " 2 routes for commuters LOL
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 8:35pm Kettle wrote:
Its just so pretty.
Plus you get the countryside without the usual telegraph reading 'my dog's got a splinter, better wring its neck' countryside alliance aholes.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 9:39pm Zzz.. wrote:
There's only two things that give Lewes distinct personality, bonfire and Harveys. Otherwise it's not markedly different from most other towns of the same size. It suffers from the same issues. The biggest is due to the increasing wage differentials (rich getting richer, poor getting poorer) and its proximity to London.

Someone else extrapolate. I can't be bothered.
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On 26 Nov 2014 at 10:55pm Zzzzzz wrote:
I disagree. Lewes has a character, setting and political leaning which is totally unlike almost every other small town in the south east.
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 12:53am DFL whatever that is ! wrote:
I hate to state the bleeding obvious here but, the truth is that most "DFLs" aren't, generally speaking, originally from London. Many would have begun their treadmill on the path of mortal existence on this planet in some other small (probably less inspiring ) UK town and then "progressed" to the "big smog", beckoning as it does to the aspirational youth. I for one was actually born in our fabulous capital and as much as I miss it (occasionally), I honestly believe that Lewes is as good as it gets. Yes there are far too many "up their own proverbial" DFLs looking to bring their London here, but there are also enough born and bred Lewesians here to tell them/me even when we are going too far, and so they should. So the DFLs who weren't originally "Londoners" should look to their roots and remember what was good and true about their hometowns before trying to change the essence of a truly lovely Town and one that I for one am really grateful to have found.
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 6:50am commando wrote:
you cant buy mens under crackers in Lewes
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 7:26am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I love Lewes because of its lovely mix of period architecture, its
rebellious spirit, the tolerance of its people and the community spirit (the response to the flooding in 2000 was amazing), the way it nestles in the downs, the great pubs, and its feeling of being different from other towns of similar size.
However, it is at risk becoming over-developed. The population has grown significantly over the last 20 years with no comparable increase in infrastructure and services. Doctors and dentists are oversubscribed, schools are having to have temporary classrooms, the roads are increasingly choked. The demographic change brought about by "incomers" is changing its nature and without going an anti-DFL rant, this is clear in the nature of the businesses in town.
We're thinking about putting ourselves out to pasture in somewhere more rural, because of the sheer busyness of the town.
Mind you, after 23 years of living here, I still get a thrill every time I see the glimpses of the downs that you get as you walk down the beautiful high street, and the stretch of Western Road from St Annes to the bottleneck must be one of the loveliest in the country.
Oh, and the parking scheme is still crap. You may meet people you know every time you're in town, but if you brought your car, you won't be able to stop and chat if you came by car, for fear of overstaying your time and getting a ticket.
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 9:21am Yaffle wrote:
I think people in this thread are in danger of conflating how things have changed in England over the past decade or more with specific issues in Lewes.
A lot of the comments could be applied to anywhere vaguely affluent or pleasant.
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 10:21am SHS wrote:
1. Walking distance to all shops and other amenities.
2. Good rail and bus links in all directions and hopefully soon a rail link to Uckfield.
3. The Newhaven-Dieppe ferry - used to be good when a day trip was possible and the trip took 2 hours. We live in Lewes assuming someone with common sense will eventuially change the existing sailing schedule.
4. A view of the hills from all over town.
5. Very old historic buildings not yet all spoilt by the planners.
6. Waitrose.
7. Builders merchants and a proper industrial estate ripe for the revival of boat-building, engineering and manufacturing.
8. Good sports facilities notably the athletics track, pool and tennis courts.
9. Grange gardens.
10. The river - all the best towns have a river.
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 10:34am Depressed 40+ wrote:
1. The surrounding countryside and villages
2. The Castle
2. The Downs
3. The Ouse
4. The proximity to the coast
5. The history of the town and it's people
6. The good schools
7. The low crime rate
8. Bonfire Night
9. The Priory Ruins
10. The Grange Gardens
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 11:05am London Born wrote:
Apparently no-one else has ever moved to Lewes apart from people from London.
I lived in Kilburn from 0-3 years of age, and moved to Lewes in 2008. I'm now in my 40s. I am probably a DFL.
I might move somewhere else one day, and become an Up From Lewes.
People move around. Deal with it.
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 1:09pm Henry wrote:
The river
The pubs
The community
The Downs
Harveys (and its generous patronage of local businesses)
LewesFC
The size
The Phoenix estate and its diversity
Bonfire
This forum
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 2:47pm Just me wrote:
The worst things: The Argus making up stories about Lewes to sell a paper
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 3:05pm belladonna wrote:
There are plenty of born and bred Lewesians who also like the attitudes and benefits of so-called DFLs. The DFLs favourite mag (Viva Lewes) was started by a local boy.
I like the fact I can walk to anywhere in town within half an hour (and I have mobility issues), the range of shops - the only thing that is lacking is a cheaper mens shop and a greengrocer
(incidentally, speaking of green grocers - no one seems to have clocked that one of the famed Lewes shops/cafes - started by born and bred Lewesian Bill Collison is a DFL delight and now been exported all over the country - irony?)
DFLs haven't imported these shops/cafes - they have been started in many market towns all over the country - gift shops, antiques, cafes etc exist everywhere. There is a mass national trend towards this, its how people spend their leisure time, and lets face it Lewes is a town to visit for a weekend or day trip. Many of those 'DFLs' - are in fact dressed up country folk here for a day out shopping.
The best things about Lewes are
1. BONFIRE - holds the town together
2. downs and walks
3. architecture
4. the liberalism of many of its residents (But I don't see much rebellion to be honest - its hardly a hotbed of radicalism just because Tom Paine once lived here and people let off rookies... )
5. Cultural life - so many choices of events every week - from markets to free gigs to raves to classical to theatre to lectures to art etc etc (lacks a decent cinema - hopefully soon to be rectified)
6. Pubs
7. Coffee shops - especially Baltica, Fischer Street, Le Magasin and Buttercup
8. River Ouse - but could be opened up more to public use
9. Decent enough schools and a culture of kids enjoying traditional freedoms
10. Starfish music
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 4:44pm Mouse wrote:
The View of Cliffe Bridge from the Phoenix Bridge. 365 days a year and always different.
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 5:25pm Spot On wrote:
Spot on, belladonna. I just don't recognise the stereotypes of DFLs on here from my friendships with people who have moved here from London. They are mostly quite modest (if interesting or unusual in many cases) but not that different to people who have been here for longer.
You are so right in that a lot of the monied / red trousered lot are not living in Lewes but are the county set who have always been there.
People use the DFL moniker to attack anything they don't like or feel part of, when in most cases it's nothing to do with recent movers from London at all.
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 6:04pm Red trousered filatelist wrote:
Why Not ? - cuz it`s full of hills and nowhere to park and clogged with traffic - could say the same for Uckfield - That town went downhill when they built Manor Park LOL
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On 27 Nov 2014 at 6:24pm Henry wrote:
And of course the utterly fantastic annual Patina Moving On parade for the kids moving from primary to secondary school
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On 30 Nov 2014 at 9:24am buff wrote:
Love it cos of the diverse range of cinemas


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