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Land Trust Public Meeting on 26th March
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.

St Anne’s School update Dec 2012
Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:55

St Annes SchoolEver since this Georgian building closed as a school standing in its magnificent grounds this landscape jewel in Lewes’ crown has been an obvious target for development. The Land Trust supported the recent move to modify the Conservation Area boundary to include the school grounds. Despite opposition from the site’s owner, East Sussex County Council, the South Down National Park Authority approved the change unanimously. This gives a degree of protection to the site, making inappropriate development less likely.

However the Land Trust believes that this site represents a magnificent opportunity for community ownership with a development that would respect the value of the grounds while it also would provide much-needed affordable housing.

If you agree with this aim, please join us in our efforts to preserve this important site for Lewes.

Canon O’Donnell Community Hall update Dec 2012
Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:53

Canon O'DonnellThe threat of demolition of this charismatic Arts & Crafts building at the western end of the town has temporarily receded. Love it or not, most Lewesians recognise that this iconic landmark should only ever be replaced by a building of significantly greater merit.

When the Hall’s owner appealed against the recent refusal to allow demolition, the Land Trust worked hard, along with other community groups that included the Friends of Lewes and the Lewes Conservation Area Advisory Group, to persuade the inspector to uphold the refusal.

We now learn that the owner plans to submit a fresh proposal to develop the site, putting the Hall, once again, in jeopardy.

We await the new proposals with interest. In the meantime we are pleased to learn that our District Council has instructed the owner to take remedial action to stop the Hall falling into decay.

Lewes District Council Meeting 5th December 2012
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 21:47

Lewes District Council’s Core Strategy has idenitfied the North Street area in Lewes, known by the new owners The Santon Group as the North Street Quarter, as an area for redevelopment. The Core Strategy, due to be discussed & approved today at a full Council Meeting, could pave the way for 350 homes, up to 5,000 sq m of office space, retail space, a hotel and redeveloping or relocating the Waitrose supermarket.

However, some businesses and traders at Phoenix Place, Lewes are against the proposed plans for redevelopment of the estate. An online petition against plans to demolish part of Lewes gained more than 2,000 signatures.

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