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Hotel plans for Lewes courthouse
A former courthouse is to swap its dock for double beds by becoming a hotel.
The Argus can reveal Premier Inn has expressed an interest in creating a 60 bed hotel in the old Lewes Magistrates’ Court building.
It is part of a proposed development which would also see a retail unit on the ground floor.
The creation of the hotel would create up to 60 jobs, developer Quora last night revealed.
The scheme is in its early days, with no formal planning application as yet.
But representatives from Quora, as well as planning agents Planning Potential and architects Juice Architects, have met with town and district council planning members to discuss the proposals.
Ben Ellis, from Quora, said: “It will be a mixed use new development offering regeneration to the town centre.
“At the moment we are being very flexible about the use of the floor space.”
Mr Ellis said the firm had taken on board Lewes District Council’s hotel needs assessment which highlighted a lack of both “high end boutique” and budget hotels.
Premier Inn immediately expressed an interest and Mr Ellis confirmed they have signed up for the scheme.
Lewes town councillor Matt Kent wrote on his blog: “There were many questions raised by the Lewes Town Council planning committee, and I was generally concerned with the overall design, given its adjacency to the old library.
“I was also concerned about the parking for the proposed 60-bed hotel and the general approach that the architect is taking towards the concept design and sustainability.”
The court, which was opened in 1986 by Princess Diana, went on sale in February last year with offers in excess of £1 million being invited.
The court was closed in 2011 as a result of government cost-cutting, despite a fierce campaign to keep |the dispensation of local justice retained in Lewes. Since then it has stood empty.
The Argus understands the sale of the site has only recently been finalised, with the developers quick to sound out opinion in its plans for the hotel.
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