The artists residents and workers at the Phoenix Industrial estate have been battling to keep the development somewhere that the community could remain as the creative hub of the community of Lewes unfortunately the area will be gentrified so that a few people can get their hands on the money.. They put it better than me so for this week’s article I will pass over to Lewes Phoenix Rising ……..
Bitterly disappointing decision from the South Downs National Park Authority yesterday - which was more focused on recording the activity on the Phoenix for posterity than trying to nurture it for the future. Faced with a planning committee that was highly uncritical of the proposed plan and spent more time worrying about giving Willey's Bridge (which isn't even in the application area!) a lick of paint than the loss of facilities used by 1,000s of young people - and was more concerned with saving two windows from the Ironworks than the businesses within them.
Committee members repeatedly voiced "sympathy" for the livelihoods that will be displaced and admiration for the many activities that go on at the Phoenix and hope that businesses can find space "elsewhere".
We call on the SDNP and LDC to make sure that ACTION IS TAKEN to keep creative and manufacturing businesses and social enterprises within and thriving in Lewes - recognising that an industrial park on the outskirts of town with large corporate rents isn't the answer.
Offering makers and artists an opportunity to paint heritage murals in the underground carpark or contribute to the manufacture of street furniture of the new development (especially when they no longer have anywhere to make it!) - is at best crass - and at worst indicative of a National Park hell bent on turning Lewes from a working town into a museum town.