The Phoenix Rising team (including Liz Mandeville, board member of Ovesco and Homelink, and Teva Hesse, Director CF Moller, architects) had a very useful meeting with planning officers of the South Downs National Park Authority on Friday 20th June.
The officers welcomed our work, especially as we are seeking to work with Santon and Lewes District Council. We made it very clear that our priorities are to maximise the number of affordable homes provided at the local housing allowance rent level (and not 80% of market rent which is the norm these days) and to maximise the amount of truly affordable workshop and employment space.
The officers said that the Santon plans presented in the last public workshops were not of the required standard. You can see the latest Design Review Panel Here notes (April 2014) here and on our website in the Press Resources Downloads section.
The panel has come to the same conclusions as us: “no overall design strategy.. unconvinced by the underground car park.. poorly defined character and sense of place.. existing buildings should be properly appraised in the mixed use strategy.. design quality inadequate for this important site.. there is greater potential to retain the site’s existing occupants, identity, businesses and uses.. an ambitious, well informed proposal is required” and so on.
It is clear that our work is already a vast improvement on the Santon/LDC plans, and we are being encouraged to keep going working on a joint venture with them. Sadly, fixing a date to meet LDC and Santon is proving difficult but we should be able to see them in early July.
The SDNPA members/officers have asked for a tour of the current enterprises and industries on the Phoenix estate and a detailed look at the remaining facades and features of the Phoenix Iron Works, both being important elements of the ‘cultural heritage’ the Park is obliged to maintain
We have now established our company limited by guarantee, Lewes Phoenix Rising Ltd. We are completing our strategy to raise funds for preparing our planning application, which needs around £100,000 between now and the end of the year. This is a fraction of the price one would normally expect to spend on a full planning application of 80 odd homes and 200,00 sq ft of work space, with the added complications of underground industrial contamination and flooding. This vastly reduced cost is due to the good will of our team of architects, engineers, planners and flood management experts, all of whom see the merit in our flagship sustainable development.