Responding to the Santon/LDC planning application
How to respond
1. Send your comments to the South Downs National Park via the SDNPA website (see web address at the bottom of this email) or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org quoting ‘North Street’ or SDNP/15/01146/FUL.
SDNPA have said that they will accept comments up until the end of Monday 16th November. The Planning Committee will meet on Thursday 10th December. It’s therefore not yet too late to comment.
2. IMPORTANT: If you object or strongly object, write this in the first line of your letter or there is a risk that your letter will be viewed as a comment rather than an objection.
3. Key issues for comment: lack of genuinely affordable housing; loss of most of the 450 jobs/50 businesses on site due to totally inadequate provision of suitable alternative workspace; loss of opportunity to nurture unique Lewes-based economy; destruction of cultural heritage; a development not worthy of a UK National Park.
Background, Key Issues and Making a Comment
The Santon/LDC application is for 415 houses, business/retail units, 700 car parking spaces (including a 300-space underground car park), ‘creative industry’ space and a big health centre.
LPR supports building 400 houses on North Street. In our Masterplan (see it here), we demonstrate that by building in a close-knit sustainable manner, an additional 49 homes at social rents can be provided, without loss of green space. In addition, the heritage buildings of the Phoenix Iron and Steel Works can be saved and renovated to provide substantial affordable workspace to protect and grow a Lewes-based economy that will enable people to live, work, play and thrive in the same place.
The Santon/LDC plan does not do this, nor does it do justice to the National Park we fought to be included in. We believe this application will take us further down the road to being a town of consumers rather than makers and contribute to the loss of our social and economic diversity.
- Employment – loss of most of the 450 jobs, 50 businesses and social enterprises currently on site. A few bigger businesses (e.g Wenban Smith, Gosnells Soap Factory) are expected to move to the new industrial/trade park at Malling Brooks and on site there will be some cultural/creative space (in total the size of the Needlemakers). However, there is no provision of the type of basic, large scale, adaptable workspace needed to allow the continuation and growth of the vast majority of enterprises currently on site – many of which depend on physical proximity due to shared machinery, skills and space – or to enable small businesses and social enterprises to start-up affordably in the future.
We need to nurture our unique Lewes-based economy of making, manufacturing and creativity, the heart of which is on the Phoenix Estate, in order to ensure long-term jobs and growth.
- Relocation strategy – no plan to enable businesses to continue working during the development period. In our survey of July 2014, only 3 of the 50 businesses could afford to move to Malling Brooks, what will happen to the others?
- Housing – failure to meet the desperate need for housing at social rent levels. At 80% of market rate, the ‘affordable’ housing will only be affordable to those on good incomes. Combined with the loss of affordable workspace, Lewes will lose its social diversity and character.
- Consultation – failure to respond to the strong support at all 3 public consultations for the provision of appropriate and substantial small independent business/creative industry space in a mixed use development. The LPR plan, which provides for 6,500m2+ of affordable basic workspace in renovated heritage buildings and 49 social housing units, with no loss of overall housing or green space, is not even mentioned, despite having over 1,300 local supporters.
- Cultural Heritage – the destruction of cultural heritage caused by the demolition of the buildings of the Phoenix Iron and Steel Works and the loss of the type of manufacturing business they were designed, and continue, to house.
- Transport – the chaos that will be caused by creating 700 additional car parking spaces in the centre of town. This is not indicative of a sustainable development that enables people to work, live and play in the same place.
- Missed opportunity – this is the largest development in Lewes since the Malling Estate and the largest in the South Downs National Park since its formation. This should be an exemplary scheme demonstrating how to build sustainable, low-carbon housing, retain cultural heritage and foster the economic and social well-being of a community in the heart of a National Park.
Making a Comment:
Every comment counts. Whatever you want to write about, it will be taken into account. If relevant, relate your comment to a key planning policy, or a key duty or purpose of the South Downs National Park:
- ‘to foster the economic and social well-being of the community within’ (Duty of National Park, Environment Act 1995)
- ‘to conserve and enhance …cultural heritage’ (National Parks Act 1949)
- ‘communities of the Park take an active part in decisions about their future’ (Defra Circular 2010)
- ‘applicants will be expected to work closely with those directly affected by their proposals to evolve designs that take account of the views of the community’ (National Planning Policy Framework 2012)
- ‘to proactively drive and support sustainable economic development to deliver the homes, businesses and industrial units, infrastructure and thriving local places that the country needs’ (para 17, NPPF)
Make a comment here: http://southdowns.gov.uk/planning/planning-applications/north-street-quarter-lewes (ref. SDNP/15/01146/FUL). Register as a user via the log-in button.
Or email email@example.com (quoting ref above) or send by post to Stephen Cantwell, South Downs Centre, North St, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9DH.