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Land Trust Public Meeting on 26th March 2014
Monday, 24 March 2014 13:32

We are holding a public meeting on Wednesday 26th March 2014 at 7.30 pm in the Town Hall Lecture Room. This coincides with Santon's third Public Consultation, which is being held in the Assembly Room at the Town Hall between 4 pm and 9:30 pm.

The main purpose of our meeting is to share with you what we have been involved in and what we have learnt from the past year’s activities. After a very frustrating experience with the St Anne’s bid, in which we were ultimately unsuccessful, we now have to report on what opportunities are open to us to achieve community benefit from the North Street development.

The agenda for the meeting is full, but we aim to give strict time limits to speakers in order to leave time for discussion afterwards.


1. Objectives and potential of land trusts – access to support, guidance and funding
2. Report on changes in trustee membership and roles – introduce new trustees.
3. Update on Lewes CLT activites – St Annes, Malling Brooks and North Street.
4. Recruitment drive (advance warning!). We need active support in crucial areas – website, publicity, communication/ legal and financial expertise/fund raising/ commercial and community-led creative industries experience. We would welcome new trustees, or task specific support.
5. Introduction to main items for discussion in 2nd part of meeting:

Creative Industries hub proposal

How can we influence what happens on North Street development, working with partners including other local organisations, LDC and the National Park?

Report on Changes in trustees

Founder member John Stockdale stood down as a trustee as he is now on the planning committee as Lewes District Councillor and can therefore only act as an advisor to LCLT where there is not a conflict of interest with his elected role. John Marsh stood down as a trustee but is still supporting the website. Anthony Dicks stood down as a trustee in order to focus on his role as chair of the Lewes Conservation Advisory Group, and still works in partnership with us in that capacity. Samira Harris, Zoe Wangler and Dirk Campbell resigned as trustees.

Our thanks to all former trustees for their contribution in keeping the land trust going over the years, and contributing to where we are now.

New trustees joined us – Molloy Banerjee who has expertise in engineering and local government, particularly flood risk and traffic modelling. He has agreed to be treasurer. Ros Brewer – who has expertise in town planning and landscape architecture. She has agreed to be company secretary.

Polly Toynbee agreed to be our patron

They join existing trustees – Andrew Simpson, Catherine Darcy, Pru Rowntree (now Chair)

Update on activities 2013-2014

St Anne’s
Our bid for the St Anne’s site in 2013 was subject to confidentiality constraints until the outcome was made public in July. We submitted a very credible bid supported by the National Community Land Trust and in partnership with a local housing association, housing co-op, builder and community group to deliver community facilities and social housing. The selection process and resulting outcome – the site was eventually allocated to the SUBUD organisation – was disappointing and hard to understand, but was a democratic council decision which we eventually felt was futile to challenge further.

Malling Brooks
We worked with the local residents group and Santon to ensure that the building on this greenfield site was sensitive to the needs of adjoining properties in terms of managing potential flood risk and noise/light pollution. The development on this site is now on-going and we are satisfied that concerns have been addressed.

North Street
We have continued to work with Santon, owners of the North Street site, via the Sounding Group and Town Partnership in relation to the North Street/Phoenix development proposal. We have instigated and attended 2 study tours of housing and provision for older people, and have participated with other groups in a town planning exercise, the Town X Ray, convened independently by John Worthington of the Academy of Urbanism.

Our work with Santon to influence and engage in pre-planning discussions has, up until now, been exploratory and preparatory. We are now entering a new phase of engagement, and have opportunities to influence the business and social housing provision on the site:

Creative Industries hub proposal
If we can establish the need and viability for a community investment in a creative industries hub/retail/training and café outlet, we have been offered the opportunity to prepare a business plan, set up and run such facilities at the centre of the proposed development.

We could work in partnership with community housing organisations, including a co-op, to create affordable housing for local people.

How can we influence what happens on North Street?
We will present the Santon proposal for a creative industries hub to our membership and discuss with you the potential risks and benefits of becoming more actively engaged with Santon in the event of their planning application being successful.

This discussion will be introduced by Andrew Simpson who will explain the underlying planning process and what we need to do as a community in order to respond to the Santon proposals and to ensure that we maximise community benefit from the development of the site.

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