Friends of Lewes Planning Committee Report 8 October 2020

Representations made on planning applications following the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 8 October 2020: 

SDNP/19/05619/FUL: Demolition of the vacant building and the construction of 28 residential units with associated landscaping and on-site car parking (Revised Plans). Astley House Spital Road.

Friends of Lewes support the overall layout, which represents a huge improvement on the existing light industrial shed. The scale in relation to Spital Road and De Montfort Road is appropriate and the layout of the terrace houses replicates the existing urban grain. Materials seem appropriate in principle but will need careful specification. The decision to provide a larger block of apartments at the western end of the site fronting onto Nevill Road is supported but the Society has reservations about the west-facing elevation.

Spital Road:
This successfully picks up the rhythm of the existing terrace houses to the east with a varied roofline. The Society supports the restricted palette of materials and the small number of window types, which unify the whole development without becoming dull. The planting in front of the houses is commendable as it contributes to the public realm and provides subtle screening from the road.

The relatively large windows are supported; windows come in all shapes and sizes in Lewes and there is no compulsion to replicate the familiar Georgian sashes.

De Montfort Road:
This is a vast improvement on the present situation. The revised (lower) roofline is appropriate to the narrower street; the rhythm and scale of the proposal sits happily with the existing houses.

Nevill Road:
The Society does not support the changes made in response to comments from the planning authority. The reduction in roof height is successful, but the decision to break the west-facing façade into three gables buildings with setbacks looks contrived, fussy and unconvincing. The gables do not sit comfortably against the adjacent stable roofs in Nevill Road when viewed from the west and do not convey a feeling of presence.  A unified overall design, reflecting the layout behind and without arbitrary setbacks would look better. The scale of the main entrance is too large and a strong central entrance serving the four high level flats would be more visually appropriate.

It is hard to improve on the arrangement proposed and the logic of the in/out arrangement is recognised. The Society supports the provision of roof gardens above, which will bring softer landscaping into the scheme.

Two mature trees at the west end of the site should be retained if at all possible; failing this they should be replaced with trees that will grow to similar size. They provide screening facing the highway and welcome softening on a busy road. This whole area requires more design input.

The planters along Spital Road are welcomed.

Materials and detailing:
The restricted range of proposed materials and the unity achieved by the use of repetitive details is supported. The challenge is to translate these into real life buildings that will look crisp and unfussy when completed, and will weather well over time with minimal maintenance. Key details drawn to an appropriate scale should be part of the approved documents, so that any future developer/builder will have to adhere to these or seek approval for any deviation. Key details include:

  • Door and window details including reveals, cills and heads.
  • Copings – these appear to be brick on the drawings and should not be replaced with pressed metal. Flashings and damp courses will need careful consideration.
  • Planters – materials, edges
  • Screen walls and handrails
  • External doors to parking, bin stores, cycle stores.
  • Hard and soft landscaping.
  • Service entries, meters, bin storage, extract grills.
  • Materials: a large sample panel or panels should be built well before construction starts so that there is an opportunity to review and comment.

Affordable housing:
The Society remains disappointed at the lack of affordable housing provision and looks to the planning authority to robustly challenge the justification.


SDNP/20/03425/FUL: Application for 2 new conservation style rooflight and an automatic opening vent on the rear roof pitch. 223 High Street.
Friends of Lewes have no objection in principle to the proposed rooflights. However it does not agree with the statement in the Design and Access Statement that ‘as the rear pitch faces the car park and is set back from being overly visible from the public roads, this will mitigate any concern with the visual impact of the additional rooflights.’ The roof is very visible when viewed from Phoenix Causeway and materially contributes to the wider views of the roofscape to the west of Harvey’s Brewery.  The Society comments that the three small roof dormers on the Waterstones bookshop next door enhance the roofscape. It considers the substitution of the rooflights proposed for 223 High Street by three similar small roof dormers would greatly enhance this key view of Lewes.


The Committee examined the following applications and had no observations to make:

SDNP/20/02453/FUL & SDNP/20/02454/ADV Southover Parish Church, St John Sub Castro Parish Church and St Michael’s Church. Welcome boards.
SDNP/20/02943/LDE 22 Toronto Terrace. Enclose side passage, erect conservatory and rooflight.
SDNP/20/03214/FUL 143 High Street. Change of use to C3 (residential).
SDNP/20/03450/HOUS 49 Hereward Way. Side window on ground floor.
SDNP/20/03681/LIS 30 Sun Street. Works to roof.
SDNP/20/03878/FUL 47 Fitzjohns Road. Change use of shed to dog grooming business.
SDNP/20/03921/HOUS 91 Highdown Road. Rooflight to rear and replace flat roof with pitched roof with rooflights on side and rear extensions.
SDNO/20/SDNP/20/03311/CND Saxonbury, Juggs Road. Variations of conditions 1 and 5 of conditionally approved application to alter window arrangement and tile hanging to second floor.
SDNP/20/03951/NMA 24 Dale Road. Amendment to approval for cedar shingle wall and roof cladding to be replaced by plain clay tile wall and roof cladding.

Planning Application Approved