Plans for nearly 700 homes in a historic town have been approved.

The huge six-storey development will come to the North Street Industrial Estate in Lewes subject to certain planning conditions being met.

It will include a car and cycle parking space, a recycling and reuse centre, construction of a new footbridge over the River Ouse and a riverside walkway. The developer will also have to make highway improvements including realigning North Street and Phoenix Place.

Redevelopment will start with demolishing existing buildings, constructing flood defences and then highway improvements.

There will be 685 homes in total including flats that are up to six storeys tall and commercial space.

Tim Slaney, chief executive of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “This a hugely important and strategic site in Lewes, that is crying out for redevelopment and bringing a new vitality to the area. 

“We’re pleased to have reached a positive outcome on this groundbreaking and complex planning application, working with the owners of the site and many partners. It brings so many benefits to the wider town, as well as redevelops the site.

The Argus: It will bring almost 700 homes as well as commercial space to LewesIt will bring almost 700 homes as well as commercial space to Lewes (Image: Supplied)

“The plans will breathe new life into a town centre brownfield site and bring a number of benefits, including a significant number of affordable homes, sustainability measures, employment and much-needed flood defences, serving the wider town as well as the development itself.

“A number of important highway issues are still to be resolved and we’re hopeful they can be successfully addressed over the next few months.”

The current plans do not propose to move the fire station away from the site. East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service's only feedback was that there was sufficient water supply for firefighting.

A decision on the plans was deferred last October due to issues around design, air quality and flood risk, which have all now been addressed. Some highway issues around traffic mitigation measures need to be resolved within six months for full planning permission to be granted.

As part of the development, 30 per cent of the homes will need to be classed as affordable housing.

Phoenix Industrial Estate was previously an ironworks before becoming an industrial estate. There have been plans to build up to 800 homes as far back as 2007. In 2015, 416 homes were approved but development never progressed on the site.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, leader of Lewes District Council, said: “It’s fantastic news that Human Nature has been given the green light today for its North Street Quarter plans.

"The scheme will bring much-needed flood defences, a new health hub for our GPs, a new bridge and access along the river and best of all, superb new sustainable homes, as well as around 200 high quality affordable homes.

"With our green spaces under so much pressure, it is critical we make use of this brownfield site that is right in the centre of Lewes and I look forward to the scheme breathing fresh life into this part of town.”