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


Girls for Change – Rights Dignity Hope – Mayor’s event, Lewes Town Hall 25 April 2019

Lewes Mayor Janet Baah is passionate about the young people of the town, which has led her to invite one hundred girls from schools and colleges across Lewes to the Town Hall for a day of brainstorming and events. The girls will articulate their hopes for the coming ten years.

These declarations will be put into ‘The Box of Hopes’ – a time capsule to be opened in 10 years’ time – which will be the anniversary of 1928 when all women in Britain got the vote.

This event is a collaboration with the Edward Reeves Archive project, who will be showing their ‘From Suffrage to Citizenship’ exhibition, about the fight for woman’s suffrage in Lewes, which was curated to commemorate the first women getting the vote in 1918.  A banner, a handmade quilt, created by local artist Heather Downie for this event, will be unveiled and put on permanent display in Lewes Town Hall.

The Friends of Lewes sponsored the framing of Heather’s banner.

The poet Grace Nichols who is resident in Lewes will read a poem, and musicians from East Sussex College will perform.

30 dignitaries have been invited, including East Sussex’s Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff, MPs, three Resident Baronesses, as well as representatives from the Police and the Chairmen of Lewes District and East Sussex County Councils.

Heather Downie quilt, banner for Women's vote
Banner by Heather Downie

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



Friends of Lewes Planning Committee Report 7 February 2019

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

SDNP/18/06103/OUT: Outline approval for residential development comprising up to 226 dwellings with associated landscaping and parking, with access from Monks Way (All Matters Reserved except Access and Layout). Old Malling Farm Old Malling Way Lewes BN7 2DY.
Friends of Lewes object to this application because it fails to meet the requirements of Spatial Policy 4 – Old Malling Farm, Lewes in the adopted Lewes District Council/ South Downs National Park Joint Core Strategy. This requires that a Masterplan and a Design Brief must be approved by the local planning authority in advance of an application. No evidence has been submitted with the application that demonstrates the Masterplan and Design Brief have been approved by the planning authority. The Society considers full public consultation on the Masterplan and Design Brief is essential, before approval.

The Design Brief submitted with the application contains a wide range of illustrations and endeavours to establish some parameters for developing what is essentially a very difficult site that is clearly visible within the wider landscape setting. In particular, the suggestion that some parts of the site need to be kept clear of any development indicates that the site is not suitable as a housing site for Lewes. Furthermore, the prospect of over 200 houses having only one vehicular access at the most northern part of the site is considered to be unacceptable as it would result in a development based on a number of long ‘cul-de-sacs’.

The allocation of Old Malling Farm for development is currently under review as part of the Examination in Public of the South Downs Local Plan. The Society considers this application should not be determined until the Inspector’s report on this matter has been published.

Overall, as submitted the application is considered both inadequate and inappropriate for Lewes due to its remoteness from the town centre and other facilities and for the National Park which is seeking to promote landscape character in determining the suitability of sites for development.

SDNP/18/06615/REM: Reserved matters pursuant to permission SDNP/15/01146/FUL for Phases 2 & 3 consisting of the demolition of existing buildings, construction of flood defences, provision of infrastructure, enhancements to recreational facilities at Malling Fields and Pells Park, and the erection of new buildings up to 3 storeys comprising up to 173 residential units (Class C3) (Appearance and Landscaping to be considered). North Street Industrial Estate North Street.
Friends of Lewes support this application. The Society has been fully engaged with the consultation that has taken place on the design of phases 2 & 3 of the development and welcomes the outcomes. The changes that have been agreed as a result of the consultation process have been for the better and Friends of Lewes support the proposals.

SDNP/19/00086/HOUS: Proposed conversion of loft to habitable room with rear dormer window. 32 Queens 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/19/00061/LDP: Creation of dormer to rear of property and conversion of roof space.
8 Fitzjohns 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’. (This application was published in the weekly list but is now not available on the SDNPA web site which suggests it has been withdrawn.)


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

SDNP/18/05141/HOUS 5 Mount Place.   Flue pipe.
SDNP/18/05949/PA14J Sussex Police HQ, Malling House, Church Lane, South Malling.   Solar PV.
SDNP/18/06152/FUL 89 High Street.   Change of use to residential.
SDNP/18/06213/LIS 19 Keere Street.   Internal alterations.
SDNP/18/06301/HOUS 37 Priory Street.   New dormer and rooflight.
SDNP/18/06431/HOUS 22 Mountfield Road.   Single storey rear extension.
SDNP/18/06594/HOUS 33 Prince Edward’s Road.   Demolish conservatory and erect new single storey extension with terrace.
SDNP/19/00093/FUL The Stewards, The Motor Road, Old Racecourse.   Replace fencing.
SDNP/18/05648/ADV 35 Friars Walk.   Two fascia signs and A board.
SDNP/18/06391/HOUS 37 Abinger Place.   Detached single storey garden studio.
SDNP/18/06595/HOUS 16 Fisher Street.   Repair cladding, replace door and window.
SDNP/19/00053/HOUS 5 St Swithun’s Terrace.   Replace garden building.
SDNP/19/00088/LIS 2 Albion Street.   Enlarge lower ground floor kitchen.
SDNP/19/00084/FUL 151B High Street.   Change use to residential.
SDNP/18/06551/PA30 20-21 High Street.   Change use first floor to flats.
SDNP/19/00247/LDP 8 St John’s Hill.   Refurbish rear extension.
SDNP/19/00280/HOUS 79 Houndean Rise.   Convert garage, erect rear and side extension with dormer and garage-workshop with car port.
SDNP/18/06417/FUL Sackville House, Brooks Close.   Change use to orthodontist.
SDNP/19/00076/FUL 2 South Street.   Change use to restaurant.
SDNP/19/00381/FUL & 00382/LIS 65 High Street.   Over-clad render with tile hanging.
SDNP/19/00475/HOUS Meadow Barn, Landport Farm Road.   Convert barn to garage/workshop with annex.