R H Partnership Architects has won planning for a contentious mixed-use scheme in Lewes, East Sussex
The North Street Quarter is a joint venture between Lewes District Council and developer Santon North Street Limited delivering 416 new homes (40 per cent affordable); 51 extra-care flats and a health centre on the site of the Phoenix industrial estate.
The plans include a new public realm, integrated street planting and urban swales that will ‘prioritise pedestrians and reconnect communities on all sides of the site’. The scheme will also feature a riverside walkway, flood defences and 13000m2 of flexible workspace.
The plans will see the Phoenix Ironworks foundry demolished.
Community development company Lewes Phoenix Rising (LPR), which represents a number of creative businesses on the estate, campaigned against the North Street Quarter masterplan. The group proposed alternative designs drawn up with CF Moller and planning consultant and former senior design review advisor at CABE, Alan Thompson, which would retain the foundry building.
According to the group, the approved masterplan does not provide enough affordable housing or workspace. However, the council voted the new plans through unanimously.
However, following a meeting with LPR, the council issued a joint statement with the developer saying it would ’work with LPR to help find new premises for the creative industries and social enterprises currently operating on the site’.
LPR director Will Anderson added that the group was also exploring alternative options, including the possibility of rebuilding the Ironworks building on a new site.
Director at RHP Philip Naylor said: ‘We are delighted with the decision and would like to thank everyone who contributed to the lengthy and detailed design process, including Lewes District Council, Friends of Lewes, Conservation Area Action Group (CAAG), Lewes Town Council and of course all the members of the public who contributed to the three year consultation period.
’Together with the continued support of the South Downs National Park, this has generated a robust, comprehensive and forward looking master plan.’
Appointed by the Santon Group as masterplanner in 2011, RHP leads a design team comprising Axis Architecture, Giles Jollands Architects, MacGregor Smith and Tulley De’Ath, with a brief to create a sustainable mixed-use quarter forming an organic extension to the historic market town, which is the largest in the South Downs National Park.