Development of the Lewes House garden site – FoL comment, April 2014

Ash Mill Lewes Ltd has applied for planning permission to develop the former garden and land of Lewes House to provide 25 residential units and associated open space, car parking, access and landscaping.

The application, SDNP/14/01199/FUL, is on the SDNPA planning website.

The Friends of Lewes submitted the following comment:

Friends of Lewes comments on SDNP/14/01199/FUL- Lewes House site, Lewes

The Society has carefully considered the revised plans for this site. It realises that they are an amendment to the previous proposal that was approved for this site but since that date the National Park has been established and so its purposes must now be taken into account as well as the existing Local Plan. In addition a recent decision by the Planning Inspectorate to dismiss an appeal for housing on another site in Lewes on design grounds is a material consideration.

The Society continues to take the view that the site is appropriate for residential development. Whilst the layout proposed is similar to the previous application the drawings submitted are inadequate to determine how the development will appear from Friars Walk or from Chapel Hill and thus how it will fit into the historic character of the town. A cross sectional drawing from Friars Walk to the top of the development is therefore required to consider the former whilst a photo-montage of how it will look from Chapel Hill would also be helpful.

As for the design the Society’s view is that it is unexciting whilst the materials proposed are not sympathetic to the surrounding area and will need careful management via planning conditions.

Although the varied ridge heights are welcome it is concerned about the height and bulk of the development which may be one floor too high. It considers the roof pitch to be very low for the clay tiles proposed whilst the entrance lobby sticking out of the South Court is a design feature that is out of character with the overall design of the development.

The Society supports the cross connections between the development and the existing twittens and considers that the important trees on the site should be protected and retained whilst other landscaping measures should be provided.

Pending clarification of the issues raised above the Society objects to the application.