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Lewes CLT relaunch to aid housing crisis
Thursday, 04 February 2016 09:41

Lewes Community Land Trust has obtained a £10,000 grant by the CLT Urban Fund to develop the capacity to organise a Lewes solution to the deepening housing affordability crisis. It is one of 20 grants made by the Urban CLT Project which is funded by the Oak Foundation. The grant is designed to enable Lewes CLT to find “their own solutions to deepening housing affordability problems or to take back control of the regeneration of their neighbourhood.” The great expansion of the CLT movement has been slower in towns and cities “where challenges have been found to be more complex”.

“It’s a great honour for Lewes CLT to have been selected“, said John Stockdale the trustee in charge of fundraising. “The grant will be used to fund legal fees, community engagement, business planning, and support in negotiating with local authorities. In addition, we will be asked to help other groups set up CLTs and mentor them.

“The CLT will now start renewing contact with its supporters and inviting them and others in the community to join or rejoin the membership scheme. “We plan to call a public meeting on 1 March”, said Ros Brewer, the Company Secretary. “We are also asking volunteers to come forward to act as trustees. We are especially looking for local people who have expertise in the following areas: finance, construction and development, asset management and board management at a senior level. If you are interested please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ”.

Santon-LDC planning application approved!
Thursday, 10 December 2015 17:05

North Street QuarterAt a lengthy South Downs National Park Planning Committee meeting today (Thursday 10th December 2015) the committee unanimously voted to approve the Santon-LDC planning application subject to a number of conditions being met and this work has now been delegated to the SDNPA’s Director of Planning Tim Slaney in conjunction with the Chair of Planning Neville Harrison.

The application was a full planning application (Phase 1) for the demolition of existing buildings, provision of infrastructure, construction of access off Phoenix Causeway and associated highway improvements, flood defences, erection of new buildings of up to 4 storeys, comprising 243 residential units (Class C3) [including 51 extra care units (Class C2/C3)]; 4185m2 (Class B1 and A1, A2, A3, A4 and D2 uses) flexible work space including creative community space, assembly and leisure uses and restaurant; Class D1 medical and health services [Health Hub including pharmacy]; creation of areas of public realm, cycle and car parking provision, including public parking, riverside pedestrian route, footbridge over the River Ouse and associated landscaping.

There was also an outline application (Phases 2 & 3) for the demolition of existing buildings, construction of flood defences, provision of infrastructure, enhancements to recreational facilities at Malling Fields and Pells Park, the erection of new buildings of up to 3 storeys comprising up to 173 residential units (Class C3) with details relating to access, layout and scale for approval and details relating to appearance and landscaping reserved for subsequent approval.

The committee members present were David Coldwell, Neville Harrison (Chair), Barbara Holyome, Doug Jones, Tom Jones, Gary Marsh, Robert Mocatta & Ian Phillips.

Margaret Paren, Chair of the South Downs National Park Authority, said “This is a major application which our planning committee has considered in detail – listening closely to all viewpoints. We recognise that our decision won’t be universally welcomed but we believe that it offers the best possible use of this brownfield site for the future of Lewes and the people who live here, including much-needed flood defences and drainage for the whole town and space for recreational facilities.”

Click here to read what Santon and LDC have to say about it.

SDNPA Planning Committee Meeting 10th Dec 2015
Friday, 04 December 2015 09:53

SDNPA logoThe South Downs National Park Planning Committee meets on Thursday 10th December 2015 to discuss the LDC/Santon Planning Application for North Street, Lewes. Tim Slaney, the SDNPA Director of Planning, recommends approval. Read his report by clicking here.


Lewes CLT to provide 15 shared equity homes as Affordable Housing
Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:22

Lewes Community Land Trust, Santon and Lewes District Council have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Lewes Community Land Trust to deliver 15 shared equity homes on the North Street Quarter.

“This is an innovative opportunity to get a Lewes family started on the property ladder when house prices would otherwise be unaffordable,“ said Pru Rowntree, Chair of the Trust. “Owners will pay around 50% of the price to live in 100% of the house. When they sell, they get back their share of the sale price, the equity returns to the Trust and the house is recycled to the next families on the list.”

The project is for 2 and 3 bedroom houses within the affordable housing component of the development. “The homes will be available to young families who qualify for the Council housing register and whose incomes are not sufficient for them to buy at market prices locally.” continued Pru. “The families must be in ‘housing need’ to qualify for nomination to affordable housing units. Access to the properties will prioritise those with a genuine connection to Lewes town. “

Lewes Community Land Trust will retain up to half of the equity of the homes in perpetuity. The Trust will be able to buy back properties and roll the scheme over to new buyers when the original buyers want to move on. Buyers will purchase up to half the equity in their property.

“There will be an option for buyers to further reduce costs by fitting out the building themselves to save costs. This would also let them personalise their homes and build a sense of pride in the neighbourhood, “ said John Stockdale, the trustee project-managing the Scheme.

“A pricing formula will be agreed, but we can’t be sure of the details until planning permission has been given, we know what Government grants will be available and we have confirmed building costs.“

All of these houses will be built to a very high eco standard, saving fuel costs as well as the planet. The houses are designed to be extendable by building bedrooms within the attic spaces, as is typical of Lewes, so that 2 bedroom homes become 3 bedroom houses etc. They will, like the rest of the development, be built to "life-time" homes standards. So, these homes will be future proofed in that they can be expanded as the family enlarges and they can be adapted if occupants become disabled and as they age.

People with a strong Lewes connection will be prioritised in the housing allocation policy which will be agreed with LDC’s Housing Department. ‘Affordability’ in the context of this shared equity scheme will be defined by a formula relating the mortgage a family on the median income in the District can afford to raise to the percentage of the equity they acquire in the property – and this will apply in perpetuity.

Lewes CLT visit shared equity housing scheme in Bristol
Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:00

Bristol CLT VisitFour trustees from Lewes Community Land Trust visited Bristol last week to see what lessons could be learned from Bristol CLT’s self-finish scheme for affordable housing.

“Bristol are mid-way through their development and we were eager to find out how they were getting on”, said Pru Rowntree, the Chair. “They’ve recruited and selected their residents and they are already planning how to fit out the finished buildings collectively. They’ve had ample time to sort out their finances and they are functioning as a community several months before they take delivery of their homes.”

The Bristol scheme comprises 12 homes: six 3-bed houses plus one 1-bed duplex for shared ownership and five 1-bed studios for affordable rent. The self-finish element increases each resident’s equity value by £5,000 or more and allows them greater opportunities to personalise their homes.

“This is our first such scheme” said Keith Cowling. “We are now preparing to do another scheme in another part of the City on a larger scale. It was good to be able to pass on what we have learnt to Lewes and we look forward to coming to their opening.”

“The scheme is not exactly the same as ours” said Ros Brewer, Lewes CLT’s company secretary. “But it has given us encouragement and confidence that we can deliver our scheme. It was very valuable to see a scheme well on its way to completion and our friends in Bristol have offered to give us a lot more help and advice.”

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.

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