For the full article please click the above link
‘Phoenix Rising’ was the name of the meeting called by Transition Town Lewes at the Town Hall last week, and over 320 people turned up to have a say in the plans. “Why now?” could be asked, after all, the plans for the North Street Quarter have been around for about eleven years. I suspect the recent fire at the Phoenix Studios has focussed attention on the valuable contribution made to the town by the arts industries. But of equal concern was the provision of social rented housing. Cut out the nonsense about ‘affordable’ housing, because that means housing at 80% of market price, which is still far too high for those needing to live and work in the town. Social rents are what we need, in my opinion, and about 50% of the North Street provision for housing should be for social needs (with sheltered accommodation for the elderly and associated care facilities in addition). A straw poll was taken at the close of the meeting with the majority in favour of some community-led development on 30% of the land. But it hinges on the land-owner, be it Santon or Lewes District Council, being prepared to part with the land at a price which would make the community part of the scheme attainable.
News of the re-surfacing of The Maltings car park has provoked some interest from readers of this column. The need expressed by them and others is for The Maltings to become a long-stay car park, because town centre workers need somewhere near at hand. It is sufficiently hard to find so the casual visitor is discouraged, but those who know its location truly know its worth. I have put this suggestion to Lewes District Council but have not yet had a response. I have also revised my idea for free parking in the off-street car parks on Saturdays to the provision of the first hour free Mondays-Saturdays in the hope that this will encourage visitors and shoppers alike. I know retail is in a state of flux, but I do feel we must do our best to make Lewes a viable destination. In order to do this, some parking regulation is necessary. We also have to assist traffic flow, and I wonder what the feeling would be to limiting the large (7.5 tonnes and upwards), lorries from coming in to the town between, say, 10am and 5pm, to help keep the streets more clear.