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News for supporters of Lewes Community Land Trust, July 2015
Monday, 20 July 2015 14:38
Lewes CLT has welcomed the mixed use planning application for North Street. Through the ‘Sounding Group’, the CLT has been involved in the pre-planning consultation process for the site. The Sounding Group, meeting under the leadership of Lewes Town Partnership, includes Friends of Lewes and Lewes Chamber of Commerce as well as the CLT. We think the proposals are sensitive in terms of architecture and streetscape and that the development will provide the necessary infrastructure (flood defences for The Pells as well as North Street, parking space, road development) to support existing town facilities as well as the new development. We therefore feel that it makes sense for us to work in partnership with Santon and the Lewes District Council to deliver affordable housing for the community.
Pru Rowntree, who chairs the Lewes CLT, believes that this development proposal will maximise the delivery of wider community benefits, through the provision of affordable housing and workspace for local people. Lewes CLT aims to build homes that people can afford and will always be able to afford. We think there is an exciting opportunity to build some affordable housing on the North Street site and we are currently working with Santon and Lewes District Council to make that happen. 
We are actively negotiating with Santon and Lewes District Council to provide homes on the site which will be developed exclusively to meet the housing needs of local people. We are at the stage of applying for grants to support our proposal and of working up a viable business case.
The Lewes CLT is part of The National Community Land Trust Network, which is a growing movement supporting community-led housing and is working with the organisation ‘Action in Rural Sussex’ which has staff resources to advise local CLTs. 
If you are interested in becoming involved in this project or becoming an active Trustee / Director in our present work please contact us via our website.
Lewes CLT Statement re. North St. Planning Application, March 2015
Sunday, 29 March 2015 16:47

Lewes Community Land Trust Statement re. the North Street Quarter planning application, March 2015.

The planning application which has now been submitted is for a joint venture of Santon and Lewes District Council for a mixed development of the 16 acre site at North Street, Lewes.

Lewes Community Land Trust has been involved through the Sounding Group in the pre-planning consultation process for the planning application to redevelop North Street. The Sounding Group, meeting under the leadership of Lewes Town Partnership, comprises Friends of Lewes and Lewes Chamber of Commerce as well as ourselves. We have always and will continue to focus on the potential of development proposals to maximise the delivery of wider community benefit, primarily through provision of affordable housing and workspace for local people.

We believe that the proposed plans would deliver development that would be environmentally sensitive in terms of architecture and streetscape, at a realistic density, and that it would provide the necessary infrastructure – flood defences for The Pells as well as North Street, parking space, road development – to support existing town facilities and the more dense use of the North Steet site that the development will bring about.

We are further reassured by the presence of the District Council in the joint venture as owners of a substantial part of the site that the development will be delivered to the specification and quality of the planning application.


The North Street Quarter proposal includes the provision of 40% affordable housing as part of its mixed use development, in line with the target in the draft Local Plan Part 1. We believe that this proposal represents a reasonable and acceptable offer on this site, given the constraint of local and national government affordable housing policies. Additionally, we believe that the joint venture’s commitment to provide market housing at levels affordable by middle income families, and its proposal to offer these properties for an eight week period exclusively to potential buyers with local connections, will also maximise the potential to prioritise local people in the allocation of new-build housing. Importantly also, the new housing will provide an opportunity for older residents to move to smaller property near to the town centre, freeing up family housing.

Santon as lead partner in the joint venture has offered Lewes Community Land Trust the opportunity to take on development of around 15 homes on the site. We are actively exploring the potential to build these homes for rent at significantly lower than market rents, and which will remain accessible to local people in perpetuity. We have the support of the National Community Land Trust organisation in developing this proposal, as well as the local expertise and support of Action in Rural Sussex.


Santon’s proposal is to retain flexible workspace units on the site in new buildings, and to preserve and sustain businesses already flourishing on the site. We welcome this commitment. The creative space element of mixed use provision will provide an element of subsidy particularly in rents for start-up businesses. Lewes Community Land Trust has been in discussion with Santon about legacy management of such provision. We would like to work with Santon and other interested parties in supporting the transfer of businesses from their current to new buildings, and to set up a legacy management vehicle for the future.

Phoenix Rising

We are aware that there is an alternative planning proposal for the site, which seeks to retain current commercial buildings and to offer a different, higher density model for the provision of affordable housing and workspace on the site. Lewes Community Land Trust is not connected with this proposal.

Our position is that the role of a community land trust is to provide a vehicle for wider community benefit including affordable housing and workspace schemes. We are willing to work with any developer in a position to deliver a viable scheme. It is for this reason that our discussions to date have been confined to Santon, the owners of the majority of the site, who are working in formal partnership with Lewes District Council to develop affordable housing, commercial development, flood defence and  infrastructure provision in line with the draft Local Plan.

Should there be any changes in land ownership, partnership agreements or local planning guidance for the site we remain willing to work with relevant organisations to maximise wider community benefit on the site.


We welcome the continued support of our members.

As we move to develop this exciting opportunity we would be very interested to hear from anyone willing to offer relevant experience and professional skills as we hope to move from discussion to implementation stages in connection with the North Street Development.

Santon/LDC Planning Application, March 2015
Monday, 23 March 2015 16:46

The Santon/LDC Planning Application has now been submitted. The Land Trust is considering its response. In the meantime you can read the documents for yourself...

Land Trust Public Meeting on 26th March 2014
Monday, 24 March 2014 13:32

We are holding a public meeting on Wednesday 26th March 2014 at 7.30 pm in the Town Hall Lecture Room. This coincides with Santon's third Public Consultation, which is being held in the Assembly Room at the Town Hall between 4 pm and 9:30 pm.

The main purpose of our meeting is to share with you what we have been involved in and what we have learnt from the past year’s activities. After a very frustrating experience with the St Anne’s bid, in which we were ultimately unsuccessful, we now have to report on what opportunities are open to us to achieve community benefit from the North Street development.

The agenda for the meeting is full, but we aim to give strict time limits to speakers in order to leave time for discussion afterwards.


1. Objectives and potential of land trusts – access to support, guidance and funding
2. Report on changes in trustee membership and roles – introduce new trustees.
3. Update on Lewes CLT activites – St Annes, Malling Brooks and North Street.
4. Recruitment drive (advance warning!). We need active support in crucial areas – website, publicity, communication/ legal and financial expertise/fund raising/ commercial and community-led creative industries experience. We would welcome new trustees, or task specific support.
5. Introduction to main items for discussion in 2nd part of meeting:

Creative Industries hub proposal

How can we influence what happens on North Street development, working with partners including other local organisations, LDC and the National Park?

Report on Changes in trustees

Founder member John Stockdale stood down as a trustee as he is now on the planning committee as Lewes District Councillor and can therefore only act as an advisor to LCLT where there is not a conflict of interest with his elected role. John Marsh stood down as a trustee but is still supporting the website. Anthony Dicks stood down as a trustee in order to focus on his role as chair of the Lewes Conservation Advisory Group, and still works in partnership with us in that capacity. Samira Harris, Zoe Wangler and Dirk Campbell resigned as trustees.

Our thanks to all former trustees for their contribution in keeping the land trust going over the years, and contributing to where we are now.

New trustees joined us – Molloy Banerjee who has expertise in engineering and local government, particularly flood risk and traffic modelling. He has agreed to be treasurer. Ros Brewer – who has expertise in town planning and landscape architecture. She has agreed to be company secretary.

Polly Toynbee agreed to be our patron

They join existing trustees – Andrew Simpson, Catherine Darcy, Pru Rowntree (now Chair)

Update on activities 2013-2014

St Anne’s
Our bid for the St Anne’s site in 2013 was subject to confidentiality constraints until the outcome was made public in July. We submitted a very credible bid supported by the National Community Land Trust and in partnership with a local housing association, housing co-op, builder and community group to deliver community facilities and social housing. The selection process and resulting outcome – the site was eventually allocated to the SUBUD organisation – was disappointing and hard to understand, but was a democratic council decision which we eventually felt was futile to challenge further.

Malling Brooks
We worked with the local residents group and Santon to ensure that the building on this greenfield site was sensitive to the needs of adjoining properties in terms of managing potential flood risk and noise/light pollution. The development on this site is now on-going and we are satisfied that concerns have been addressed.

North Street
We have continued to work with Santon, owners of the North Street site, via the Sounding Group and Town Partnership in relation to the North Street/Phoenix development proposal. We have instigated and attended 2 study tours of housing and provision for older people, and have participated with other groups in a town planning exercise, the Town X Ray, convened independently by John Worthington of the Academy of Urbanism.

Our work with Santon to influence and engage in pre-planning discussions has, up until now, been exploratory and preparatory. We are now entering a new phase of engagement, and have opportunities to influence the business and social housing provision on the site:

Creative Industries hub proposal
If we can establish the need and viability for a community investment in a creative industries hub/retail/training and café outlet, we have been offered the opportunity to prepare a business plan, set up and run such facilities at the centre of the proposed development.

We could work in partnership with community housing organisations, including a co-op, to create affordable housing for local people.

How can we influence what happens on North Street?
We will present the Santon proposal for a creative industries hub to our membership and discuss with you the potential risks and benefits of becoming more actively engaged with Santon in the event of their planning application being successful.

This discussion will be introduced by Andrew Simpson who will explain the underlying planning process and what we need to do as a community in order to respond to the Santon proposals and to ensure that we maximise community benefit from the development of the site.

Santon Public Consultation re. North Street development
Friday, 21 March 2014 00:00

nsq_logo.pngThe dates of the third consultation workshops are 26th March from 4pm to 9.30pm at the Assembly Room, Lewes Town Hall, High Street, Lewes BN7 2QS and Thursday 27th March from 3.30pm to 7.30pm at Southover Grange, Southover Road Lewes BN7 1TP.

These are repeated workshops so both will have the same information and they are a ‘drop in’ format so Santon invites you to come when you want and stay for as long as you want. There will be a children’s activity provided.

At the workshops there will be information on the how the development will look as well as on affordable housing, transport, flood management; leisure and open space; creative and employment space and sustainability. There will also be updates on the feedback that Santon received from the first and second consultations and how this has influenced the plans.

Lewes CLT challenge to Local Plan
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 22:31

lclt_email_avatar.pngLewes Community Land Trust has submitted a challenge to the Local Plan along the following lines...

The CLT proposes that in order to make the Local Plan sound it should be changed to:

(i) Properly and objectively assess the impact of the loss of allocated industrial land at Eastside, Newhaven, the proposed mixed-use redevelopment of North Street and the development of the much smaller Malling Brooks East site, to demonstrate whether or not there will remain sufficient identified sites to meet the forecast demand.

(ii) Take into account the current use of the North Street site as documented by the attached survey, summary and map in order to make proper provision for the valuable social and economic land uses that currently exist on the site.

(iii) Explicitly include the requirement for the reprovision of the current light industrial (Class B1c) use in any redevelopment of the North Street site rather than, as currently proposed, leaving it to the developer’s masterplanning process – the latter approach does not meet the NPPF tests which require that clear policies are set out on what or will not be permitted and that only policies be included which provide a clear indication of how a decision maker should react to a development proposal (paragraph 154).

 More information to follow...

Santon Consultation Results
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 18:55

nsq_logo.pngThe results of the first stage of Santon's public consultation have just been published. The main points are as follows...

The first consultation events saw 632 people attend, with 278 questionnaires and 358 other comments left.

The seven key issues that were raised in consultation are shown below.

1. The interest in affordable housing is based on an understanding that this will benefit local people and not people from outside. There may be an expectation that assurances can be given to this effect and some indication of the quantum of affordable housing that will be provided.

2. The consultation process must continue to engage Lewes residents to allay specific concerns, to address a degree of scepticism that seems to exist about developments in general, and to engage a wider range of people across the town.

3. There seems to be a fairly strong pro-independent/anti-corporate feeling amongst many respondents. This may need further exploration to establish a balance that is likely to be acceptable and to determine what type of chains and retail mix would be preferable, given town’s current retail offer.

4. Transport access issues during the development stage and after its completion are likely to remain high on the agenda of local people, particularly those who live in close proximity to the site.

5. There is concern about what will happen to the arts/creative and light industrial businesses that are currently operating on the site, and solutions to their future operation will need to be developed.

6. Green spaces and environmental sustainability are likely to remain important components of the development for a number of people in the town.

7. The scale and height of buildings are important to many people and there seems to be a preference for a mix of styles, which needs to be considered carefully in the design phase.

You can read the full story here http://www.northstreetqtr.co.uk/pages/consultation-summary

Santon's North Street Quarter Public Consultation
Friday, 18 January 2013 20:34

North Street Quarter

The  Santon Group's first 'North Street Quarter' Public Consultation is now done. There were two meetings (the second a repeat of the first) and there were people to talk to from Santon, RH Partnership (the architects working with Santon on the 'masterplanning' process) and The Democratic Society (the people managing the public consultation for Santon). There was also a questionnaire to fill in.

Santon's North Street Quarter website is now operational - you can see what's being proposed/discussed at www.northstreetqtr.co.uk.

Santon say 'North Street Quarter is a suggested name for the area around North Street, including the former Phoenix industrial estate, arguably the most important current development area in Lewes.

Lewes CLT Statement on the Santon North Street Consultation
Thursday, 03 January 2013 15:45

North Street Site

This development is potentially an exciting ‘place-making’ opportunity for Lewes. It is really important that we embrace every means by which we can influence what is to be built on North Street and possibly Eastgate, and that we approach Santon’s consultation process with evidence-based and realistic suggestions.

We need to encourage our politicians to ensure that the real needs of the people of Lewes are kept at the forefront of discussion, that the Local Plan is followed, and that maximising affordable housing and supporting/developing local business is a priority.

We need to ensure that the planning authorities – Lewes District Council and South Downs National Park Authority – are robust in enforcing their powers to insist that the development is in keeping with the townscape and not an ugly annex.

North Street Site drop-in public workshops
Thursday, 27 December 2012 17:36

The Santon Group

The Santon Group (the new owners of the North Street/Phoenix site) will be holding a series of three public workshops on the future of the site, in the light of the Council and National Park Authority’s draft Core Strategy for the town. Independent facilitators the Democratic Society will support the public conversation in the town.

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