Friends of Lewes Planning Committee Report 4 February 2021

Representations made on planning applications following the Executive Committee on 24 February 2021:

SDNP/20/05799/FUL: The demolition of the Former Pells Church of England Primary School and the erection of 32 affordable residential units (Use Class C3), associated landscaping, car parking, cycle parking and all other associated works. Pells Church of England Primary School Landport Road.
Friends of Lewes support the provision of much needed new affordable and rented housing on a previously developed site. However, it objects to this very prosaic layout, which does not reflect current environmental thinking or the SDNPA requirement that the design of all new development should be landscape-led.

Landport is a largely self-contained community, designed at a time when few people owned cars and those people who did not walk or cycle into Lewes made use of the frequent busses. There is a single vehicular access to the estate which is located at the top of the site from the A2029 Offham Road. There is also a pedestrian route into the town centre at the western edge of the site via Cabbage Walk to The Pells.

The current reality is that most households on Landport own several vehicles leading to congestion, pollution, parking problems and traffic nuisance. The application claims that the needs of pedestrians and cyclists have been carefully considered but there is little evidence to support this. Cyclists in particular are disadvantaged by the steep climb to the Offham Road and the challenging journey into town via the busy A2029 main road, which has no cycle lanes. The proposed development is car-led and will inevitably add to congestion and pollution problems within the town. Children and those less able will be put at risk within the development, given the general scattering of parking provision and multiple points where vehicles have to cross pavements.

Turning to the design, the dull layout could have been designed at any time in the last fifty years. It might just be acceptable if the houses were well designed and detailed but sadly, they are not. The flats are poorly planned as demonstrated by the long entrance corridors past bedrooms to get to the living room. Most of the habitable rooms face north-west, so will not benefit from sun until late afternoon. The relationship between the blocks of flats and the bleak areas between them is dispiritingly familiar from a previous era of estate planning. It is manifestly not landscape led.

With respect to the proposed split of development, the Society has seen no evidence submitted with the application that supports the basis of the proposed split of affordable rent and shared ownership. The Society considers that provision should be made for Lewes Low Cost Housing in accordance with policy PL1A of the adopted Lewes Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Friends of Lewes therefore object to the proposed development and considers a new scheme should be submitted that is landscape led and meets the needs of the less able, pedestrians and cyclists as well as motor vehicles. Lewes deserves an exemplary scheme where social engagement can take place naturally on the streets, where children can move around safely and pedestrian and cycle links to the town are delivered as part of the development. The houses should be simple and well-designed utilising good durable materials and meet the needs set out in the adopted Lewes Neighbourhood Development Plan. The spaces between them, the public realm, needs skilled design input. The combination of hard and soft surfaces, planting, and meaningful social spaces with seats will determine the quality of the whole development and should aim to make this a place where people will choose to live.

 

Representations made on planning applications following the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 4 February 2021:

SDNP/20/05220/HOUS: Loft conversion including the insertion of rear dormer. 26 Lee Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the roof dormer which is too large and should be designed in accordance with the The Design of Dormer Windows Planning Advice Note published by the Friends of Lewes. It is suggested that the dormer could be reduced in width by providing an alternative rooflight over the stair.

SDNP/20/05248/HOUS: Conversion of garage into library space with addition of glazing and rooflights, and loft conversion including rooflights and 2 rear dormers. 5 Cranedown.
Friends of Lewes have no objection to the proposed garage conversion. It comments that the roooflights proposed for the western elevation are of different size and suggest a uniform size would be better visually. The Society objects to the two rear dormers because they are oversized and no details have been provided regarding their constriction or materials. Dormers should be designed in accordance with The Design of Dormer Windows Planning Advice Note published by the Friends of Lewes.

SDNP/20/05346/HOUS: Erection of a two storey rear extension. 25 Houndean Rise.
Friends of Lewes commend the use of permeable materials in the hardstanding.

SDNP/20/05360/HOUS: Erection of single storey extensions to the side and on top of existing rear extension and enlargement of existing second floor dormer to the rear. 21 St Johns Terrace.
Friends of Lewes object to the oversize roof dormer which is too large. Other roof dormers in this terrace are much smaller and the excessive width proposed would set a precedent. The roof dormer should be designed in accordance with The Design of Dormer Windows Planning Advice Note published by the Friends of Lewes.

SDNP/20/05691/HOUS: Erection of side and rear extensions, and conversion of loft including insertion of rear dormer. 21 Prince Charles Road.
The Friends of Lewes has no objection to the side and rear extensions. However, it objects to the roof dormer which is too large and should be designed in accordance with The Design of Dormer Windows Planning Advice Note published by the Friends of Lewes.

SDNP/20/05800/FUL: Demolition of existing outbuildings and erection of detached dwelling within curtilage of existing dwelling. 2 Highdown Road.
Friends of Lewes consider the proposed development to be of an interesting design but it is in the wrong place, too small and not wide enough. The Society objects to the proposal as it represents overdevelopment of the existing site and the size and character of the development proposed does not reflect the context and type of landscape in which the development is located, contrary to Strategic Policy SD4 of the South Downs Local Plan.

SDNP/20/05757/FUL: Erection of a replacement rear single storey extension, internal modifications and restoration, and external works. 32 Friars Walk (Friends Meeting House).
Friends of Lewes comment that it has found it very difficult to understand the scope of the development proposed from the application documents. The application would benefit from a Design and Access Statement and a cross sectional drawing across the site.

SDNP/21/00549/LIS: Proposed timber windows to ground floor rear and side elevations. 107 Malling Street.
Friends of Lewes object to the application which has no documents associated with it. The application fails to meet the SDNPA validation requirements.

SDNP/20/05804/HOUS: Conversion of the loft, including insertion of rear dormer, two-storey extension to the side and single storey extension to rear, including conversion of existing garage to habitable space. 42 East Way.
Friends of Lewes object to the roof dormer which is too large, extends to the ridge and should be designed in accordance with The Design of Dormer Windows Planning Advice Note published by the Friends of Lewes.

SDNP/20/04043/LIS: Removal of existing summerhouse and erection of replacement summerhouse (householder consent under SDNP/20/04042/HOUS) The Castle Lodge Castle Precinct.
Friends of Lewes have no objection in principle to the development but comments that the roofing material should be lead, in keeping with surrounding buildings. The cedar timber should be allowed to weather naturally, not treated.

SDNP/20/05565/TCA: T1 – Lawson Cypress – fell to a 1.2 metre stump T2 – Sycamore stem – fell and treat to prevent regrowth. 33 De Montfort Road.
Friends of Lewes suggests it would be appropriate to consider planting a small replacement tree which is more suitable for a garden, e.g., Amelanchier.

 

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

SDNP/20/05500/HOUS 33 Crisp Road. Single storey rear extension, new front porch and part conversion of outbuilding.
SDNP/20/05225/HOUS 1 The Villas, 56 Grange Road. Gate, railings and rose-arch.
SDNP/20/05573/FUL Land south of 61A North Way. New build house
SDNP/20/05615/LIS The Maltings, Castle Precincts.   Downpipe.
SDNP/20/05740/HOUS 18 Dale Road. Single storey rear extension.
SDNP/21/00070/HOUS & 00071/LIS 8-9 Chapel Hill. Single storey rear extension.
SDNP/20/05669/HOUS 2 Dorset Road. Rear extension and internal alterations.
SDNP/21/00114/LIS 25 Abinger Place. Renew timber joists and damp proof basement.

Planning Application Approved