LPR CAMPAIGNDEC 2015Lewes, Sussex
Advocating an alternative masterplan for Lewes -
Lewes is the largest town in any UK National Park. In December 2015 the SDNPA planning committee approved the North Street Quarter (NSQ) scheme, a 15-acre regeneration project on the site of the Old Phoenix Ironworks owned by The Santon Group. The Phoenix supported around 450 jobs and 50 businesses in a 10,000 m2 creative cluster labelled 'unique' by the UK Art's Council.
To address this situation Lewes Phoenix Rising (LPR) formed in 2013 as a non-profit distributing community development company. LPR has a local support base and good dialogue with the South Downs National Park, Lewes District Council, Lewes Town Council and local community groups including the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, the South Downs Society, Friends of Lewes, Tenants of LDC and Action in Rural Sussex.
Rabble helped restructure LPR as a 'design led' community campaign. We meet Santon's development with an alternative option based on an appraisal of local need and used it apply as much pressure as possible on SDNPA to refuse, or defer, the Santon application, and to try to get Santon to negotiate. The key to this campaign was to change local expectations and allow the SDNP members to see a viable alternative that matched the Park's policies and has community support. Should the SDNP have had reservations about the Santon/LDC plan, it would have been easier for them to defer it and make recommendations for changes if LPR had provided solutions.
LPR Tactics: Community debates, downloadable alternative masterplan, English Heritage Listing, lobbying the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, representations to the Local Plan, speaking at the Local Plan examination, a 1:50 model of the ironworks, a Localism Roadshow, a short film, weekly market stalls, gaining the support of the Independent's design editor, the Phoenix March and finally salvaging the Phoenix buildings.