The Friends of Lewes Design Awards 2019

The purposes of the Society’s Design Awards are to:

  • Acknowledge projects that have enhanced the local environment and make a positive design contribution to the town.
  • Encourage high standards of materials and quality of workmanship in both new buildings and the restoration and/or conversion of existing buildings.
  • Draw attention of the wider public to the good things that are being done in Lewes.
  • Encourage other people who may be thinking of undertaking projects to support high standards of design.

The 2019 presentation was held in the Lewes Town Hall Council Chamber on Friday 10 May, when the winning owners, architects and builders/craftsmen were presented with certificates by the new President of The Friends of Lewes, John Davey.

The 2019 Awards went to: Depot Cinema for exemplary design, which considered the needs of the town and its population, demonstrating attention to detail and the sympathetic modern treatment of local materials – as shown by David Smith’s flint work; and to Hill House on Juggs Road, the first passivhaus in Lewes, which sets a fine example both environmentally and in terms of design.

Friends of Lewes 2019 Design Awards winners8 other projects were recognised with Commendations: Priory Barn; Falcon Wharf; the restoration of the façade of the former Red, White and Blue public house; an extension to Yew Tree Cottage; the Alexis Dove Shop front; the brick paving in St Andrew’s Lane; the Butcher’s glass advertising sign at 40 Cliffe High Street; and the restoration of the bay and mathematical tiling of 200 High Street.

Further details about the winning entries are given on the Awards list (above). Click on the image to enlarge.


The Depot Cinema, Lewes
Depot Cinema, Lewes

Hill House, Jugg's Road, Lewes
Hill House extension, Juggs Road, Lewes

The Friends of Lewes Design Awards 2016

The Friends of Lewes Design Awards 2013


Friends of Lewes plant elms at Vert Woods

In 2014, the Conservation Trust gave the Friends of Lewes Trees Committee nine elm whips, from cuttings taken from surviving trees in Hove (a whip being a small sapling about 75cm in height). After almost five years growing them on from 4” pots to 11” ones, it was clearly going to be some time before they would grow large and robust enough to be suitable for planting as street trees for Lewes.

Instead, the Trees Committee has planted them in Vert Woods Community Woodland, near Laughton. We are very grateful to VWCW for giving them a protected space on either side of what will become an avenue of Elms. Three of the trees were planted on New Year’s Day 2019, and the rest were planted in April 2019.

This adds to the growing collection of Elms at Vert Woods, many of which were planted as part of the “Bring Elms back to the South Downs” project. We hope that they will encourage the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly, which breeds on Elm species, especially on the edges of woodland rides. The numbers of these butterflies declined in the 1970s when its food source was reduced by the effects of Dutch Elm Disease.

The elm varieties planted are: Ulmus hollandica Wentworthii, Ulmus rugosa pendula, Ulmus Hollandica virens, (Kidbrook), Ulmus laevis, (White Elm), and Ulmus coritana, (Minor).

Friends of Lewes plant elms at Vert Woods


Lewes North Street Quarter phases 2 and 3 detailed plans for landscape and appearance approved by SDNPA

On 11 April 2019, the detailed plans for the landscape and appearance of Lewes North Street Quarter phases 2 & 3 were approved by the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA).

North Street Quarter was given planning permission in May 2016 to regenerate the area between North Street and the River Ouse providing 416 homes, commercial space, a health hub and a public car park, along with significant improvements to the area along the river.  This included outline permission for the whole scheme and full planning permission for the first phase of the development, comprising the health hub, car park, business space and the majority of the affordable homes.

Phases 2 & 3 comprise 178 homes in the western part of the scheme.  The planning application for the appearance and landscape of this area deals with the architectural style and proposed materials of the buildings, as well as  landscaping elements such as the new riverside walk, the courtyards and planting schemes.   The proposals were shown to the public at an exhibition in October 2018 and feedback from the event helped shape the final plans.

Read more…

Computer generated image at the North Street Quarter website


A new Garden of Peace in Lewes

The area known to many Lewes residents as the Magic Circle is being re modelled in recognition of its genesis in 1920 as a private Garden of Peace.

It was originally built by Frank Frankfort Moore 1855- 1931 after he bought Castlegate House in 1907. Frankfort Moore was from Northern Ireland, a prolific dramatist, biographer, novelist and poet.

Changes in ownership meant these private spaces became public, a car park, and the pond was concreted over to become that curious place that many generations of Lewes youth knew as a secluded attractive place to meet up with friends.

The construction was never meant for public use, and over time the unsupported archways and arbours dilapidated, to leave a rather sad space.

Plans were put into place to address what had become an eyesore. The first job was to establish an official public right of way.

A small team from The Friends worked to come up with a design idea that acknowledged a Garden of Peace, but suitable for use by the public. The plans will improve the visitor’s first impression of Lewes. There will be an information panel that will show the historic importance of this area which is in the Bailey of Lewes Castle, an ancient monument which meant permission for the work had to be granted by Historic England.

There are suggestions to part suspend the parking there occasionally. The second circle could be used as a stage for public performances, the car park and the surrounding banks providing a natural amphitheatre for short plays and possibly musical events, Christmas fairs and festivals of light.

Funding for the project has come from The Friends of Lewes, Lewes Town Council, Community Infrastructure Levy, and Lewes District Council. The Friends are working in partnership with Lewes District Council, which has taken responsibility for overseeing the build contract.

There will be further reports as the build uncovers artefacts. The dig is being supervised by archaeological experts and some surprising items are coming to light!

Working at the site (left), and a computer-generated image by Crispin Williams of how the site will look on completion


Friends of Lewes Planning Committee Report 7 March 2019

The following objection was submitted following a review of the decision made at the 7 February meeting:

SDNP/19/00382/LIS: To over-clad existing cementitious render on parts of the South and West elevations with red-clay tile hanging.  65 High Street
Friends of Lewes have no objection to work necessary to mitigate damp penetration to the rear elevations of this listed building. However, if the tiles proposed are the same colour as those already used for the ground floor annex they will be obtrusive and hard to ignore. The Society notes with concern that the tiles already used for the annex gable end do not match those of the rear elevation of 66 High Street, contrary to paragraph 2.6 of the Design and Access Statement submitted in support of approved application SDNP/17/04859/FUL. The Society objects to the continuation of the tiles already used on the annex. Other options should be considered such as re-rendering the façade in order to reduce its visual impact or if tiles are used they should match those of rear of 66 High Street. 

Representations made on planning applications following the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 7 March 2019

SDNP/19/00610/HOUS: Replacement of 5 double-glazed UPVC windows on front elevation (including one bay window) with wooden sash windows. 29 St Annes Crescent.
Friends of Lewes support the principle of replacing uPVC windows with traditional sash windows in the Conservation Area.

SDNP/19/00776/HOUS: Demolition of existing conservatory and construction of new single storey rear extension, roof extension and insertion of two conservation style roof windows. 22 Morris Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the proposed dormer which is too large and does not conform to the recommendations set out in the Friends of Lewes ‘Planning Advice for Dormer Windows’.

SDNP/19/00805/HOUS: Demolition of garage and construction of single storey side extension. 20 Highdown Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the proposed use of glass blocks in the front elevation of the side extension which do not fit in with the existing street scene.

SDNP/19/00926/FUL: Creation of a 140 metre length of traffic-free path at Lewes for shared use by walkers, cyclists and wheelchair users. Permissive Path between Ham Lane and Railway Subway Ham Lane.
Friends of Lewes support this development. 

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

SDNP/19/00488/FUL 3 Park Road. Widen drive and pedestrian entrance, new gates and brick pillars.
SDNP/19/00544/HOUS 30 South Way.   Alterations and extension.
SDNP/19/00569/HOUS 2 Watergate Lane.   Replace windows, front door, guttering, roof and cladding and install photovoltaics.
SDNP/18/00255/HOUS 14 Stansfield Road.   Two storey side extension.
SDNP/19/00642/LIS 92A High Street.   Replace staircase.
SDNP/19/00593/HOUS 7 The Avenue.   Paint first floor frosted grey.
SDNP/19/0061/FUL 50A Cliffe High Street.   Part change of use to A1/A2, part to C3.
SDNP/19/00754/FUL Malling House, Sussex Police HQ, Church Lane, South Malling.   Solar panels.

Planning Application Approved