Lewes District Council announces sites earmarked for 415 homes

Artist's impression of proposed riverside social housing for Robinson Road, Newhaven.
Artist's impression of proposed riverside social housing for Robinson Road, Newhaven.
  • St Mary’s Social Centre in Lewes remains under threat
  • One of the largest housing developments will be in Newhaven at Robinson Road
  • Full list of sites made public by Lewes District Council

After months of public outcry Lewes District Council has revealed the sites which it has earmarked for housing.

Controversially St Mary’s Social Centre in Christie Road, Lewes, remains on the list.

St Mary's Social Centre in Lewes faces demolition.

St Mary's Social Centre in Lewes faces demolition.

The council said it wanted to demolish the current building and replace it with a new social centre and a small number of well designed homes which would remain in council ownership.

The Western Road public toilets in Lewes are also up for development and the proposals are to build two homes on the site.

However the council confirmed Lewes Tourist Information Centre was not included in the scheme.

It is understood that the largest housing developments will be in Robinson Road, Newhaven and Buckle Car Park in Seaford.

The initial proposals for council homes in Newhaven will really support our efforts to rejuvenate the town. It has taken a while to negotiate what is a complex development agreement and I know that many people are keen to understand the ideas and sites affected.

Lewes District Council leader Rob Blackman said:

The council said riverside social housing in Robinson Road, Newhaven, would assist in its regeneration.

An iconic seafront development at the Buckle Car Park in Seaford is also proposed.

Consultation with residents will begin at the start of June and the first planning applications will be submitted at the end of 2015.

The council wants to build 415 homes on 30 council owned sites, with 40 per cent affordable housing. Originally there were 49 sites the council was understood to be considering but it said this had now been reduced to 30.

There is a shortage of social housing in the district. A total of 2,000 households are on the council waiting list.

The council has joined forces with Brighton-based Karis Developments, housing association Southern Housing Group and architects Conran and Partners to work on the project.

District council leader Rob Blackman said: “I am very excited that we can now share and consult on our innovative plans to deliver much-needed affordable and sustainable homes in rural parts of the district as well as the coastal areas. The initial proposals for council homes in Newhaven will really support our efforts to rejuvenate the town.

“It has taken a while to negotiate what is a complex development agreement and I know that many people are keen to understand the ideas and sites affected.”

Managing director of Karis Developments Josh Arghiros said: “We are planning a very detailed community consultation programme for all the sites that will begin at the start of June.

“We want people from the locality to have an input into the design and a sense of ownership through being involved from the start.

“For families in need of a home this gives them an opportunity to have somewhere to live that gives them a good quality of life and that they can feel immensely proud of.

“The buildings will be beautiful, enhance the local environment and help to regenerate these sites to create new areas for living.”

Director of Conran and Partners, Paul Zara, the architecture and design practice founded by Sir Terence Conran, who lives in Lewes said the project was close to his heart.

He said: “I’m excited to be working on such an innovative and important project in my home town.

“It is all about delivering good quality homes and meeting the area’s affordable housing needs, as well as sparking the regeneration that’s needed in local communities.

“We’re looking forward to getting started on what will be a long-running programme of redevelopment that will make a positive difference to local people.

“We will be creating bespoke solutions for each of the sites, taking into account their size and location, with some interesting and innovative concepts that will add value and will make a positive impact.”

Regional development manager for Southern Housing Group Jeremy Barkway added: “Southern Housing Group is thrilled to be taking part in such an innovative venture with Lewes District Council.

“Our work with the council and Karis will provide the local community with much-needed rented and open market housing.”

The proposed developments will come under two planning authorities: Lewes District Council and the South Downs National Park Authority.

If you would like to comment on the development plans, or be part of the pre-planning process, email newhomes@lewes.gov.uk tweet @LDCnewhomes, or call 01273 471600.

For more information visit www.lewes.gov.uk/newhomes where regular updates about public consultation meetings will be.

In 2012, the council assessed its portfolio of land assets in the district and packaged them together as part of a tender to develop these sites for new housing.

In May 2012, the council’s cabinet agreed to initiate the project and a procurement process to find a development partner was begun under EU rules, assessed by external advisors.

The successful bidder was a consortium consisting of Karis Developments and Southern Housing.

The sale of land for private homes will generate money that the council can use to fund the construction of affordable homes, as well as generating a New Homes Bonus that the council will use to support further affordable housing initiatives.

There will be a mix of affordable homes, including some retained by the council for rent and some shared ownership to help people get a foot on the housing ladder.

Maps showing the locations of the sites are available at http://www.lewes.gov.uk/23307.asp

The list of 49 sites is as follows:

Barcombe: Deans Meadow; East Chiltington: Hollycroft: Lewes: Christie Road. 4 Fisher Street, Ham Lane, Juggs Road and Western Road.

Newhaven: Fort Rise, Fort Road, Meeching Down, Neill’s Close, Robinson Road, Valley View, Valley Road and Western Road.

Newick: Leveller End; Peacehaven: Ashington Gardens, Cliff Park Close, Piddinghoe Avenue, Roderick Avenue, Steyning Avenue, Valley Road and Wendale Drive/ Telscombe Road.

Plumpton: Southdowns; Ringmer: Broyle Close and Broyleside Cottages; Seaford: Alfriston Road and Buckle Car Park; Telscombe Cliffs: Fairlight Avenue/ Esplanade and Wivelsfield: Fair Place, land adjacent to 4 and Green Park Corner.

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