I am a passionate believer in enhancing and protecting the historical, architectural and cultural heritage of our lovely town; encouraging local businesses to thrive and for any development, to be sensitive to its surroundings and to be of the highest possible design both in terms of architecture and in construction materials. I believe in buildings being both sustainable, using the minimum of energy in their construction and use. I would like to see Lewes thrive as a business, cultural and artistic centre. I support individual local shops and businesses as opposed to encouraging big chain organisations to take over the town.
Much is needed to be done in Lewes to improve the quality of life for residents; pedestrians, cyclists, the disabled and visitors. Wherever possible the various local authorities who control Lewes should maximise their efforts to reduce heavy lorry traffic in the town and through car traffic. Every effort should be made to encourage the use of public transport and the facilities for pedestrians and cyclists and the disabled. Every effort should be made to re-establish the railway line between Uckfield and Lewes as this will not only help encourage people to use public transport but also will relieve traffic pressures on the A26 out of Lewes and at Earwig Corner.
Much more needs to be done to ensure full public participation in the planning system and for councils to make decisions for the long-term benefit of the environment and the residents as well as ensuring business and commercial developments are in harmony with Lewes and its surrounding areas.
Currently we are facing some of the biggest changes in planning terms that the town has undergone for many, many decades in the North Street area. I support Phoenix Rising’s principles of maintaining a local low-cost basis for small businesses in that area as well as the development of affordable housing.
I would like to see more market days and perhaps on some occasions the upper part of the High Street being used as it was in ancient times for markets thus restoring the life and vibrance to that part of the town. I would encourage the development of transport, amenities and services for the various parts of the town such Nevill, Landport and Malling. In this regard centres such as St Mary’s and Malling community centre should receive support and encouragement from the local councils. I admire the businesses which are based in Western Road; everything should be done to encourage these and others to establish themselves in that area. More short-term parking is required to help these businesses and thus provide better facilities for all residents locally. Litter in our streets is a problem and I would like to see our town always sparkling clean and welcoming. The district council need to expand its curb-side collection to reduce the amount people have to take the dump themselves. This will itself save fuel energy as well encouraging more people to recycle.
Over the years there has been a lack of vision in local government and by some public service related businesses. They could provide better services to the community. Lewes deserves and should have better cultural, recreational and community facilities serving the town and the local area. More should be made of our river, for example attractive riverside public areas in the North Street plan. In this respect there needs to be a public/business partnership to bring about the provision of the services which will match those of other towns such as Midhurst, Bexhill and Tunbridge Wells.
Lewes Town Council has a unique position and can play a key role in coordinating all local authority and public body services in the town. It should encourage more direct involvement with local groups and with the public generally and to this end should develop its interface with the public on a more open basis including a major revamp to its website. Whilst Lewes has only a population of 17,000 it has demands placed upon it far in excess of its population size and as such I’m a a member of the Lewes Town Neighbourhood Plan group and am keen to develop a robust Town Plan, which, once approved, would be part of the legal planning system. Through this plan we have the opportunity of safeguarding the future for our children and for an environment and historic centre whilst providing a vibrant commercial and cultural centre making the best of everything which makes Lewes a great, interesting and beautiful town to live in and visit.