Land at South Downs Road, Lewes

Client:River Oak Homes Ltd

Location:Land at South Downs Road, Lewes

Authority:South Downs National Park Authority

ECE Planning are delighted to announce that full planning permission has been obtained for a mixed use development on Land at South Downs Road, Lewes.

The mixed use development includes a building comprising of 22 no. dwellings and two ground floor office units (equalling a total of 170sqm). The proposals also received consent for associated parking, landscaping and for the construction of an acoustic boundary fence on the eastern boundary.

In 2015, ECE received consent for 79 residential dwellings and a 4 storey block of 2182sqm of commercial (B1) floor space at the site. With regards to the previous consent, the proposals also received consent for the relocation of bicycle store to basement level and the subdivision of 1no. flat to create 1no. additional flat.

Upon receiving the original consent, it had been recognised through comprehensive viability studies and market testing that the commercial element of the approved scheme (2182sqm of ‘B1’ floorspace) would not be viable to deliver.

Furthermore, as supported by the SDNPA Peer Review, the approved office scheme was a ‘potentially risky proposition, finding little evidence to suggest that it would be commercially successful’. In addition to this, the peer review also acknowledged that there was ‘little evidence to show that the Lewes commercial market could support a large office development’.

Working alongside ECE Architecture, ECE Planning demonstrated that the proposed residential scheme involved no change in the footprint or size of the approved commercial building and therefore resulted in no harm to neighbouring amenities or privacy.

It was also demonstrated that the residential use would result in less vehicular movements than the commercial use. The reduction in vehicular movements was considered to significantly reduce the effect on the Ashdown Forest and not increase any related air quality implications.