A petition against plans to demolish part of Lewes has gained more than 1,500 signatures.

Campaigners want to stop proposals which threaten the Phoenix Industrial Estate.

Lewes District Council’s core strategy plan highlights the area, known as the North Street Quarter, as an area for redevelopment.

The core strategy, due to be discussed today, includes a masterplan which could pave the way for 350 homes, up to 5,000 sq m of office space, retail space, a hotel and redeveloping or relocating the Waitrose supermarket.

But campaigner Samira Harris said the Phoenix Industrial Estate, which houses a collection of old warehouses, is a thriving community.

She said: “Some people see this as a run-down load of crumbling buildings opposite Tesco, but it is not.

“Nearly every warehouse is occupied by successful industrial and creative industries. There is a thriving community between neighbours on the estate and throughout Lewes.

"This estate provides services regionally, nationally and internationally.

“In between working factories and small businesses a cultural phenomenon has happened.”


She has launched an online petition at change.org to try and convince the council to amend the plans to retain the estate, arguing investment in the current site would be money better spent.

It has so far attracted more than 1,500 signatures, which will be used as part of representations at the meeting of the full council today at 2.30pm.

Lewes District Council and the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) said they wished to reassure campaigners the debate on the Core Strategy for Lewes District will not have any immediate impact on the North Street area of the town.

“Any resolutions, we make on draft planning policies tomorrow will not have an immediate impact on the area,” said Councillor Tom Jones, Lewes District Council’s Lead Councillor for Planning and Lewes District’s representative SDNPA Member.

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