Seedy Saturday Lewes, Lewes Town Hall, Saturday 5 February, 10am to 3pm

Seed swap, seeds and plants for sale, talks and workshops – in Lewes Town Hall

Seedy Saturday Leaflet 2022Talks in the lecture room:

10.30am Dave Goulson “Gardening for Bumble Bees” £3 limited seats so booking is essential on Eventbrite

12.30 Thomas Daniell, “Soil Food Web Gardening” Free but limited seats so booking is essential on Eventbrite

Also Willow Weaving workshops (build a plant obelisk with Christiane Gunzi) see Common Cause’s website for booking information

For more information visit Common Cause: Seedy Saturday


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ESCC survey of trees for safety defects

Anthony Becvar, Tree Health Officer, Communities, Economy & Transport, East Sussex Highways has asked Friends of Lewes to publicise this information:

The ESCC is currently undertaking a network survey of all the Unclassified roads in the county. You may therefore notice some spray painted dots on trees in you parish, the colour of the dots do not denote anything different, it simply depends on what colour is in stock.

The dots signify that a safety defect has been spotted and that remedial works have been recommended for the tree. This maybe that the entire tree requires felling, having dead wood removed or could be simply to monitor the tree further.

Both private and ESCC trees are being surveyed. If a private tree is marked, we will notify the land owner and make them aware of the works that are necessary on the marked tree(s), however, we will also suggest that they have the rest of their trees adjacent to the highway privately assessed for other issues.

If the trees are owned by ESCC they will be entered into a works programme. We cannot specify what works are required on individual trees as to do so would take up a lot of time, so please pass on the information above if anyone asks about tree marking or felling within your area. If the owner of the tree contacts your parish council instead of us directly, please inform them that they will be written to by ESCC with instructions, and that until they receive a letter, there may not be the information available to pass to them.

The survey results are sent in monthly, so information on trees surveyed and marked may not yet be on our database at the time of the enquiry.

We will aim to carry out works within the time frame given by the surveyor, which may include traffic management such as traffic lights or possibly road closures. We will always aim to minimise disruption to road users where we can do so safely and efficiently.

Trees that are felled will only be felled if a high risk is associated with the fault detected, the risk can be increased by the level of occupancy of the road. Trees will not be felled if they are healthy or showing no significant faults, we will always leave what we can and carry out other remedial works such as thinning or reducing if it prolongs the tree’s life in a cost effective way. However, we may have to remove healthy trees if leaving them increases a risk of them being subject to windthrow/exposure. This does happen, especially with groups of ash which are generally shallow rooted and tend to grow very tall very quickly due to density.

We will be aiming to survey sections of the network annually, i.e. urban trees, A roads, B roads, C roads and U roads to ensure that they are resurveyed a minimum of every five years.

Local short films on the climate emergency

The recent Climate Action! Festival at the Lewes Depot cinema was organised to provide a local focus on the climate emergency and coincided with the COP26 summit.

A series of short films were made involving the Brighton Screen and Film School, Seaford Environmental Alliance, Sussex Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, the Lewes Climate Hub.

Several of the films featured Lewes residents and school students. If you missed the film festival, or would like to see the films again, the Lewes District Council has made them available on their website.

Find link to ‘Right Here, Right Now COP26 Films’ at the bottom of that page

Image at the Lewes District Council website

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Missing! Battle of Lewes Plaque

Brian Courage, our Town Ranger has just reported that the Battle of Lewes Plaque has gone missing from its plinth on Castle Bank.

If anyone happens to see it somewhere, please would you take it to Lewes Town Hall, or email if you have any information on its whereabouts.

Brian restored this plaque only last year, and took this picture before working on it:

Battle of Lewes plaque
Battle of Lewes Plaque

This plaque has now been found and returned, Nov 2021


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31 more street trees for Lewes!

Over three working parties in November, 12 hard-working members of our Trees Committee planted 10 trees in King Henry’s Road, 13 in Gundreda Road and 8 in Prince Edward’s Road. Funding for the trees was met through a successful grant application to Sussex Community Foundation for £4,500, kind donations and bequests from residents, and a generous donation from Sparks Property.

The trees were carefully chosen for longevity and resilience in our changing climate and they include: Tulip trees, (Liriodendron tulipifera), Japanese Pagoda trees, (Sophora japonica), Hop Hornbeam, (Ostrya carpinifolia), Chinese Elm, (Zelkova serrata), Cockspurthorn, (Crataegus x prunifolia), Field Maple, (Acer campestre “Louisa Red Shine”), Nettle tree, (Celtis australis), Sweet Gum, (Liquidambar styraciflua Worplesdon), and Maidenhair tree, (Ginkgo biloba).

Thank you to all the co-operative residents who have promised to look after the trees if they need watering during prolonged dry spells – and who kept us going with cups of tea on the planting days!

This brings the total of surviving trees that we have planted since 2014 to 112! We have a long list of suggestions for planting sites in 2022 – but we would be interested to hear of any other ideas from Lewes residents.

Tree planting in the Wallands, Lewes, November 2021
Planting trees in the Wallands, November 2021: a Sophora, Celtis, Tulip Tree, and an Acer. Click image to enlarge

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Friends of Lewes Planning Committee Report 7 October 2021

Representations made on planning applications following the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 7 October 2021: 

SDNP/21/04004/HOUS: Single storey rear extension with rear bi-folding doors, flat roof and 2 no. roof lights. 26 Fitzjohns Road.
Friends of Lewes comment that no details have been provide that explain how the increased surface water runoff will be managed.

SDNP/21/04412/HOUS: Single story garden studio. 20 The Avenue.
Friends of Lewes object to this application. No information on the method of dealing with increased surface water runoff is shown. The discharge of runoff behind the lower retaining wall would be likely to seriously threaten the stability of an embankment already noted to have a history of instability.  In addition, the intended GRP for the roof is an incompatible material within the Conservation Area and would be visible in the winter from Bradford Rd.

SDNP/21/04429/LDP: Rear extension, side extension and erection of a porch. 43 Fitzjohns Road.
Friends of Lewes comment that no details have been provide that explain how the increased surface water runoff will be managed.

SDNP/21/04604/LIS: Addition of ground floor WC, entrance area cupboard and restoration of separating wall between front and rear reception areas. 94 High Street.
Friends of Lewes comment that it welcomes the improvements to the rear elevation.

SDNP/21/04611/HOUS: Loft conversion with hip to gable and rear dormer. 2 Fitzjohns Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the increase in the size of the rear dormer compared to the previous application in SDNP/21/03574/HOUS. The proposed dormer is oversized when compared to the adjacent property and is contrary to the FoL Design of Dormer Windows Planning Advice Note. The Society also considers the proposals are contrary to 4.1 Roof Extensions to Existing Residential Buildings of the Draft SDNPA Design Guide.

SDNP/21/04811/FUL: Removal of existing external signage, removal of external ATM and re-instate glazing, removal of internal counters, interview rooms and all internal furniture. 190 High Street.
Friends of Lewes comment that the application presents an opportunity to make good the neglect of two important buildings in Lewes’s streetscape.  It is especially important that planning approval is subject to conditions that require that the selection of materials and detailing of, for example the façade replacement following the ATM removal, is of the highest quality.  Similarly, the porch has been moved two bays to the left on the red brick building for commercial reasons and the application presents an opportunity to reinstate it in the correct location.  The Society is keen that any items of historic interest are protected and retained, for example the brass plate ‘Old Bank House’ and notes that the signage ‘The Old bank’ has already been removed.

SDNP/21/04861/TCA: T1- Ash. Fell.  24 Bradford Road.
Friends of Lewes object to this application because it cannot see any reference to the reason for felling the Ash on the application form and no plans for a replacement tree have been stated.

SDNP/21/04918/TCA: T1 – Atlas Cedar – fell to ground level. 25 Valence Road.
Friends of Lewes object to this application because no information is given about why the Cedar is to be felled and no replacement tree is planned.

SDNP/21/04895/TCA: Removal of x1 Cherry (Silver leaf Disease). The Bothy Cockshut Road.
Friends of Lewes have no objection to removing the diseased tree and would recommend the replacement with another tree, not a Cherry, because Lewes needs to increase tree canopy cover.

SDNP/21/00020/FUL: Extension to existing garden centre to provide improved cafe and outdoor seating area, new warehouse space, enclosure and extension of existing garden centre sales area and other minor improvement works (Amended Description and Amended Plans – deletion of 502 square metre concessions building). Lewes Garden Centre Newhaven Road Kingston BN7 3NE.
Friends of Lewes welcome the removal of the proposed Concessions Building. However, the Society maintains its objection because the application has failed to demonstrate compliance with SDNPA planning policies. The proposals still involve the conversion of existing canopied retail areas (519sqm) into enclosed retail space, with a small extension (85sqm), to increase the floor area by a total of 604sqm, in direct conflict with South Downs Local Plan policy SD 38. A retail impact assessment has not been submitted as required for retail development outside of Market Town and Larger Village settlement policy boundaries where the proposal exceeds 150m2. Furthermore, no business plan or similar document has been prepared to identifying how the development supports the long-term viability of the business or local horticultural suppliers. The application still fails to demonstrate a need for such retail floor space in an isolated rural location further undermining the viability and vitality of the existing struggling retail trade to the historic town of Lewes.

Although the Society supports the conditions proposed by ESCC Highways it maintains its highways objection because no measures are proposed to improve pedestrian and cycle access to link the garden centre with adjacent footpaths and cycle paths.


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

SDNP/21/03500/HOUS 32 The Gallops. Single storey rear extension.
SDNP/21/04013/HOUS 18 Highdown Road. Garden shed.
SDNP/21/04089/FUL Unit 28, Cliffe Industrial Estate. Change of use from B1/B2 class use to bus depot (sui generis).
SDNP/21/04292/LIS 23 Friars Walk. Internal alterations.
SDNP/21/04352/HOUS 53 The Avenue. Replace doors and roof on side extension and form opening in rear for new doors.
SDNP/21/04356/HOUS 4 De Warrenne Road. Rear single storey extension, new first floor bay window, roof and overcladding to garage, covered external area and pergola, reinstate porch and landscaping.
SDNP/21/04595/HOUS 6 Montacute Road. Single storey rear extension, new window to west and replacement windows to rear.
SDNP/21/04606/HOUS 1 Hill Road. Two storey rear and single storey side extension.
SDNP/21/04637/FUL Gallows Bank, Abinger Place. Retrospective change of colour of exterior.
SDNP/21/04645/HOUS 9A St John’s Terrace. Shed and enlargement of conservatory.
SDNP/21/04725/FUL  3 Fisher Street. Change use of storage area to studio apartment (C3).
SDNP/21/04804/LIS 98 High Street. Replace windows and window repairs, minor internal alterations.
SDNP/21/04832/HOUS Vipers Wharf, Railway Lane. Internal alterations to change use to single dwelling.
SDNP/21/04800/HOUS Vega, Kingston Road. Single detached garage.


Planning Application Approved

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Friends of Lewes response to the consultation on the planned redevelopment of the former Lewes Bus Station

The Generator Group has submitted a pre-application for the demolition of the existing buildings and construction of [a] mixed-use gateway redevelopment scheme, including office/retail use and 50 residential units, together with landscaping, parking and cycle parking. SDNP/21/03284/PRE

Friends of Lewes have submitted an objection to the South Downs National Park over the planned redevelopment of Lewes Bus Station.

The plans contain no proposals for a replacement bus station either on site or elsewhere. A central  bus interchange is essential in Lewes if the Government’s call for increased use of public transport is to be met.

The Society also considers the proposed development is completely out of scale for this site and the buildings would dominate the whole of this central area of Lewes.

It believes Eastgate Street should be looked at in a much more constructive way with the new development built right up to the pavement and fill in the gap to visually link East Street and Eastgate Street.

A simple terrace of buildings is needed with retail at street level for vitality, residential above and amenity space at the back. An alternative design that embraces the SDNPA Draft Design Guide could deliver a development which makes a positive contribution to the historic Lewes town landscape and the wider National Park.

Friends of Lewes response to the consultation on the planned redevelopment of the former Lewes Bus Station [September 2021, pdf 328KB]

Lewes Bus Station
Lewes Bus Station

Friends of Lewes feedback on Human Nature’s Phoenix Project Design Festival, September 2021

Developer Human Nature is planning a “new sustainable neighbourhood on the former Phoenix Industrial Estate in Lewes. The Phoenix Project will consist of residential, commercial and community premises, creating jobs, work space and homes for the town”.

In early September, Human Nature invited the general public to explore their work in progress, and provide feedback at the Phoenix Project Design Festival. 

Friends of Lewes feedback on Human Nature’s Phoenix Project Design Festival, 14 October 2021 [pdf 225kb]

Image at Human Nature’s website

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Friends of Lewes helps Wildflower Lewes to buy seeds for wildlife verges in Lewes

Thanks to funding from Friends of Lewes and Waitrose, Wildflower Lewes have obtained a substantial quantity of Yellow Rattle seeds, and some seeds of Red Bartsia, to sow onto the wildlife verges and some of the Lewes District Council-owned wildflower sites.

Yellow Rattle and Red Bartsia are both hemi-parasites and weaken rough grasses by attaching to their roots. This encourages the growth of a wider range of wildflowers.

The seed mix includes some Viper’s Bugloss and Kidney Vetch seeds courtesy of Depot cinema.

These seeds will be sown as soon as possible after the grass has been cut and cleared towards the end of October.

Yellow Rattle, and Red Bartsia
Yellow Rattle, and Red Bartsia. Photos courtesy of AnemoneProjectors, CC BY-SA 2.0 , and Richard Avery, CC BY-SA 4.0

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