The Friends of Lewes issued the following statement on 13 December 2014 following the South Downs National Park Authority Planning Committee’s decision on Thursday 11 December to approve the developer Quora’s revised plans to demolish the former Magistrates Court in Lewes, and to replace it with a two storey Premier Inn with retail outlets on the ground floor (SDNP/14/01650/FUL).
PLANS FOR PREMIER INN APPROVED
At a meeting of its Planning Committee earlier this week the South Downs National Park Authority approved the latest plans for demolition of the existing redundant courthouse in Friars Walk and its replacement by a two storey Premier Inn with retail outlets on the ground floor.
The Friends of Lewes had no objection to the concept of demolishing a disused building and replacing it with a hotel and retail units, but had objected to elements of the design at each stage. Its concern had been to ensure that the design of the new building would be better than the existing one. It has therefore been actively involved with the developer in having significant amendments made to the original plans, so that the final design respects the closeness of Fitzroy House and will provide a building that is visually as acceptable as the courthouse.
Whilst the Society had put forward a number of detailed design points which were not included in the approved plans, one condition to the approval is that a liaison group is set up by the developer with local interests to monitor the project. The outcome is therefore one in which the Society can be proud of its influence on this development in that a design which meets its original criteria of having a replacement which is sympathetic to this central part of the town and its conservation area has been achieved.
See also FoL’s previous comments on proposals for this site:
FoL Chairman’s speech and FoL press release, Dec 2013
Friends of Lewes response Oct 2013
FoL’s initial formal response of June 2013, and
FoL’s Comments on Quora’s proposals of April 2013
The Courthouse, Friars Walk, Lewes: Friends of Lewes statement, July 2014
The Courthouse, Friars Walk, Lewes: Friends of Lewes response. September 2014
The Courthouse, Friars Walk, Lewes: Friends of Lewes final response to the planning application. December 2014
See Sussex Express article of 7 December 2014 for further information and artist’s impression of the proposed new building.