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Lewes Neighbourhood Plan

NEWS : 25th January 2019 : Referendum Information

The Lewes Neighbourhood Plan has been assessed by an independent examiner (Mr Andrew Ashcroft) and his report accepted by the South Downs National Park Authority. The neighbourhood plan will now move forward to a public referendum which will be held on Thursday 7th March 2019, when voters will be asked to answer simply YES or NO to the question of whether they want the neighbourhood plan to be used by the local planning authority in deciding planning applications within the parish up to 2033. Please make time to vote in this referendum – it is important!


NEWS : 30th August 2018 : Note from the Examiner

The SDNPA has appointed Mr Andrew Ashcroft as independent examiner of the Lewes NDP. The Examiner will assess whether the Lewes NDP meets certain legal requirements, known as ‘basic conditions’ and will consider the representations made on the Lewes NDP. Further details of the arrangements for the Examination including a summary of the representations received during the Submission consultation can be found on the SDNPA’s website here


A note from the examiner, Mr Andrew Ashcroft, can be found here


NEWS : 11th June 2018 : Submission Consultation

The South Downs National Park Authority has published the submitted Lewes NDP for consultation in accordance with Part 5 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012. The consultation is running from 9:00am Monday 11th June to 11:59pm Monday 23rd July 2018.


The Lewes Neighbourhood Plan, the Submission Plan and supporting documents can be viewed on the SDNPA website. Information on where to view documents, how to comment and guidance on what the representation should cover is also available on the SDNPA website.


NEWS : 18th April 2017 : Pre-Submission Consultation

The Pre-Submission Draft of the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan is now ready for its next important stage, a formal six-week public consultation which will begin on 8th May and end on 21st June 2017.


There will be a drop-in event presenting the draft plan at the Town Hall on 25th May from 1.00pm until 10pm and on the 26th May from 9.30am until 1.00pm. The full text of the draft plan will be available online together with a questionnaire in which you can tell us what you think.


There will also be printed versions available of both draft plan and an associated questionnaire at the Town Hall and the Public Library. We request that all comments go via the questionnaire as this is a formal process and everyone’s comments must be properly logged. These comments will then be collated, reviewed and where appropriate incorporated into an updated plan which will then be submitted to the South Downs National Park Authority for further consideration.


The draft Lewes Neighbourhood Plan has been produced because of several previous public consultations from which the steering group were tasked with two important objectives, to ensure that the character of the Lewes and its natural environment is preserved as completely as possible and to provide low cost housing for the residents.


Lewes Low Cost Housing


From the earliest public involvement in the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan one of the issues frequently raised was the need for smaller housing units which would be affordable for Lewes residents. Unfortunately, the Government definition of “affordable” does not sit well in Lewes, with the combination of low incomes and high housing costs that we experience here. The latter is of course exacerbated by the town being in a National Park and having good links to London.


Our proposed solution is the concept of “Lewes Low Cost Housing” (LLCH) which seeks to give priority to smaller sites which could achieve new housing to rent or buy for residents on lower incomes. So, to give this concept the best chance of success we have approached landowners within Lewes town boundary including Lewes District Council and East Sussex County Council to identify suitable sites.

We have been able to achieve many potential sites for LLCH using this approach, but need residents’ strong support to encourage landowners and developers to pursue this housing strategy.


Sustaining Our Community & Our Environment


As the largest town in any national park, Lewes is perhaps especially aware of its natural environment. The town did not expand as much as was usual in the nineteenth century because the seaside towns were the places that grew then and Lewes, on its hill, was not so easy to build in.


Even before the Downs were protected from building there were concerns that they were too exposed for comfort and the low-lying land around the river, much of which flooded, was reserved for industry. In particular, Every’s large Iron and Steel Works in Phoenix Place, which provided the cast iron for the seaside towns and the railways that took people there. This means that Lewisians are used to be able to walk out in to fields and onto downland and are familiar with its inhabitants, from the bees to the sheep that crop the grass and enable the growth of the flowers that the bees feed on, who pollinate the crops in the fields around us, and the nesting places for the skylarks.


So, the draft plan pays especial respect to our surroundings and its connections, and the corridors into the town and its green spaces which help local species to keep numbers sufficient for successful breeding. Our draft plan asks developers to respect this whole ecosystem, from leaving spaces for wildflowers and adding boxes for birds’ nests, to ensuring that green energy solutions both reduce carbon production and, importantly, the fuel bills of the future occupants. If we get this right we could have tourists coming to see how it can be done, and that would bring work too. We can even hope to offer a model of how to make a positive impact on the natural resources on which we, in turn, depend.

NEWS : 12th April 2019 : Made Plan

On 11th April 2019, the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan was formally “made” at the South Downs National Park Authority planning committee. Copies of the made plan can be found on the home page.


NEWS : 8th March 2019 : Referendum Result

The referendum votes on the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan have been counted (Friday 8th March) and the community has registered a very loud “Yes” to the plan! Just under 25% (3,276) of the electorate turned out to vote and the result was as follows: YES = 2,993 (92%), NO= 268 (8%).

NEWS : 14th May 2019 : Case Study Published

The Lewes Neighbourhood Plan seeks to practically implement an ecosystem approach to planning in the largest town in the South Downs National Park. The ecosystem approach is an emerging field, increasingly used by government and local planning authorities, to consider the environment when making planning decisions. Kirsten Firth was a member of the  steering group and has written a case study on the ecosystem aspect of the neighbourhood plan. You can download it here.

NEWS : 5th December 2019 : Lewes Neighbourhood Plan wins prestigious award

The Lewes Neighbourhood Plan has received a commendation in Planning for the Natural Environment at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s 2019 South East Awards for Planning Excellence.


The RTPI South East awards presentations were held on 21st November at the top of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth and the award was presented by the President of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Ian Tant, and the Chair of the judging panel, Sue Percy CBE to Richard Eastham, of Feria Urbanism, who received it on behalf of the winners. The award was for a submission entitled “Lewes Neighbourhood Plan – Pioneering an Ecosystem Approach to Neighbourhood Planning” and goes jointly to Lewes Town Council’s steering group, the South Downs National Park Authority, and consultants to the town council, Feria Urbanism.


Current Mayor of Lewes, Cllr John Lamb said: “All the contributors to the council’s Steering Group over the past five years should feel very proud. Thank you, everyone involved, for a terrific achievement. This new approach to a neighbourhood plan has already received many accolades and was the brainchild of Lewes’s own Dr Colin Tingle, who sadly died before seeing the plan completed.  I hate to mention the “R-word” but it certainly helped our Lewes plan to receive a 92% “Yes!” vote in the statutory public referendum earlier this year! Enormous thanks to all who helped put the plan together”

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