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Lewes House - Council Cock-Up

On 18 May 2008 at 12:19am Sashka wrote:
Apparently it is coming out, that the District Council have made a really bad mistake with the Lewes house site planning application that means they are visiting a certain creek, paddle-less.
On 18 May 2008 at 9:24am print wrote:
Please give more details; many people are fearful about the outcomes of pending planning applications - like the proposed Canon O'Donnell demolition for example. What is the definition of 'mistake'?
On 18 May 2008 at 11:08am Father Xmas wrote:
Ho ho ho!
On 18 May 2008 at 5:08pm Sylvia wrote:
I agree with 'print'. It's no good hinting, or using innuendo like Councillor Ruth O'Keefe at the Town Meeting to suggest or imply planning mistakes, or things that have been done improperly, without spelling it out. That's mischevous and malicious. So Sashka, what exactly is the really bad mistake?
On 18 May 2008 at 7:00pm sashka wrote:
If I knew I would say, that is why i am asking here! Does it not worry you too? This wouldn't be the first time our money was wasted dealing with the fallout of one of their own mistakes.
On 18 May 2008 at 8:01pm biznescorp wrote:
Rubbish removed W.
On 18 May 2008 at 8:40pm S.Oliver wrote:
I am pleased to see that Cllr O'Keefe is acknowledging the cock ups. I suspect that she gets threatened by the Planning Officers so is a little reticent in what she says at public meetings. Here are three examples of the kind of thing I imagine she was referring to.
Losing a Highway Authority Recommendation of refusal for the houses that were built in Albion St. Residents noticed the mistake early on, and told the Council, but were ignored. Later the application had to be reconsidered when it was finally agreed that the council had made a mistake, and the residents were correct. This mistake was so bad that two residents went through the whole complaints procedure to Ombudsman level. The Local Government Ombudsman acknowledged that their had been Administrative Fault and criticised other aspects of the Councils procedure. One of the complainants recieved an apology because the council had written a malicious e-mail about him, and left it in a public file where one of his neighbours found it. I wonder how Cllr Gardiner explains that?
Failing to conside Fire access to St Nicholas lane (Baxters) as a planning consideration. This has never been properly resolved, and Lewes is left with a feeble compromise, and no guarantee that the proper equipment can get into the lane to put out a fire on the highest parts of the building. A letter from the Fire authority explaining that they couldn't get a fire engine into the lane had been wrongly filed in Building Control papers, and the planning department failed to understand the legal difference between the access to the lane itself, and the access to the building site.

Castle Ditch Lane. The Council forgot to get Listed Building consent at all. until it was realised over a year after building work had finished.
So do not believe a word you read in a planning report until you have checked it. Incidentally reports are supposed to be impartial, and not advocate a particular point of view. Anyone who has read one of our LDC reports will realise that the authors do not seem to be aware of this requirement!

On 19 May 2008 at 10:07am Enoch wrote:
Would it be anything to do with the Ice House and a listed building consent? Or also the fact that the council seem unaware as to which consents/applications they need for the area and it is the Developers Solicitors who say whether a Conservation Area Consent is needed or not!
On 19 May 2008 at 10:56am S.oliver wrote:
I have asked around, and yes it is exactly as Enoch has described. .
This is absolutely appalling.
There is a lovely little building built into the side of the Listed Church Twitten, that is in the way of the development. You can see the arched door as you walk down the twitten.
It is part of School Hill House which isn't just GradeII listed but GradeII*
My understanding is that the Council solicitor has completely failed to realise that this little buliding is listed, and so the Council have approved demolition, using the wrong consent!
In fact they have approved demolishing this precious piece of our history (it is a small Gothic Style pavillion about 200years old) along with some old concrete hard standings. !
The Counil seem now to literally be treating our listed buildings like old rubbish.
This is not only clear Maladministration, but demolishing a listed building without consent is a criminal offence.
On 19 May 2008 at 11:18am Local wrote:
We elect our councillors to keep an eye on the officers who run the council on a day-to-day basis. This is clearly not happening. My fear is that before we get a chance to throw these councillors out they'll allow a lot more damage to Lewes to go through. That's quite apart from the councillors who seem to have a bit too pally a relationship with developers.
On 19 May 2008 at 1:04pm prufrock wrote:
If it is the case that a listed structure is to be demolished then that is something that can quite easily be stopped - by injunction if needs be. The simplest route would be to contact one of the amenity societies such as The Georgian Group. Reference to the original listing will tell you whether or not the structure is protected - it probably will be. If not, they could seek spot listing. it does sound like no-one knows what the true situation is - maybe LDC should issue a statement.
On 19 May 2008 at 1:38pm Smiler wrote:
Isn't this one for Stormin' Norman?
Has he been told? Does he have a view on it?
On 19 May 2008 at 3:14pm MC wrote:
You post was not formed as a question. Unfounded allegations are two a penny. Maybe you could find some substance to support your post.
On 19 May 2008 at 4:25pm Local wrote:
MC: I can't see why Sashka and others shouldn't raise issues like this on this forum. Looking into rumours like this is what i) councillors, and ii) the Sussex Express should be doing. They've got the lead - now let them follow it. Will they? If past form is anything to go by the answer sadly is No.
On 19 May 2008 at 7:07pm s.oliver wrote:
Contacting the Georgian Group would be a good idea, to ask them to write toi the Council about this. I would recommend anyone to do so. it is a disgraceful mistake.
The original listing does not specify the 'ice house', which is why the Council made the mistake. Listings do not include all listed features, they are only guidelines. Listing includes all sorts of things such as garden walls, attached buildings, fixtures and fittings etc. Apparently no-one from the Council/Developer checked with English Heritage, who have the final say, until some town centre residents did. It obviously suited the Council and Developer not to know.
I would sack the Council solicitor responsible for this, and it is about time our elected councillors woke up to this. After all it was the Councillors who have been misled into approving the demolition. it makes them look idiotic, and i would be furious. After all they can only believe what information they are given. It makes councillor Gardiner look particularly silly after his confident support of the officers in the paper this week.
On 19 May 2008 at 7:14pm Sashka wrote:
MC; You are also posting in the middle, not in the correct place. I am not going to feel about such an innocuous post., this is a chatty local forum! As it happens, the gossip I wanted to check up on was correct! You don't work for the council do you?!
On 20 May 2008 at 11:28am geoff wrote:
What are our Councillors doing about this? Surely they have to correct the mistake or they would be breaking the law (doing just what Jenny Mumford was accused of doing)
On 20 May 2008 at 12:39pm Taff wrote:
If no one is in contact withthem to remind them of their responsibilities to us then I doubt they are even wriggling about over it. What is needed is a communication to remind them, publicly preferably so at least we know they should be squirming in their chairs during a working day!
I dont know the best way but I do know that Lewes has a plethora of people who probably will know once interested.
On 20 May 2008 at 1:17pm Howard wrote:
I left a long comment on the Sussex Express website in response to Cllr Gardiner's remarks about how much he trusted his planning officials. Interestingly, it disappeared overnight.
On 20 May 2008 at 3:26pm print wrote:
All this fits exactly with the unease I felt when I had contact with planners and sussex Express etc over the Canon O'Donnell Community Centre development proposal. So hard to know whether conspiracy theories should prevail or whether it is arch ineptitude. Both possibilities are culpable - the latter probably even more so!
On 20 May 2008 at 5:55pm Howard wrote:
Print - What's interesting is that not only did my comment disappear, but (at last viewing) they've made it impossible to comment at all on that particular article.
On 20 May 2008 at 9:48pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
If the planning decision was based on incorrect information, I suspect that the only way to to get it revisited is by seeking a judicial review in the high court. Unfortunately, that's an expensive business.
On 21 May 2008 at 12:52am s.oliver wrote:
How about contacting your friendly local Councillor and ask what is being done about this mistake, and then come back and let us know what the result was! You could remind your Councillor that it is not the first time the Counci has failed to get Listed permission properly, and let us not forget that they didn't even know the Priory was a scheduled monument when they put the land on a list of land suitable for housing! (ity was taken off again)
Howard, could you put your post on Sussex express again, and see if it stays on. if it doesn't, you could put it on here and we will see what they want to censor and why.
On 21 May 2008 at 8:20am Taff wrote:
Photocopy 'the poster' to A4, write your complaints and concerns on the back and post it to them, her or him. Lots of them!
On 21 May 2008 at 11:38am s.oliver wrote:
The latest is that the Council have failed to tell tree workers, and archeologists on the site, that they could be causing criminal damage to a listed building. They are not to be blamed, as they are just doing their jobs. Someone this morning had to go and intervene with a copy of the listing information from English Heritage
What has it come to when residents, just out of their pyjama's have to do this kind of thing!
On 21 May 2008 at 12:04pm Howard wrote:
S. Oliver - You'll be flattered (I hope) to know that what I posted on the Sussex Express site was a reference to the wisdom of your post on here of 18/5, heavily quoted, and a note that this seemed a better reflection of the situation in Lewes than what Cllr Gardiner had said. It appeared, then disappeared and now it's impossible to add a comment to their article at all.
On 21 May 2008 at 12:09pm Taff wrote:
has anyone got an email direct to the the council?
it is not essential to rely on local media!
On 21 May 2008 at 12:38pm Heffer wrote:
Hello all. A newbie here. I sense a real desire to crack on with this site, get it done as quickly as possible. I spotted Lindsay Frost in the High Street earlier and sadly he ran quickly away down Church Twitten. But did see him just a little later running down the end of the twitten just before the tree cutters who have now removed ALL the trees from Walwers Lane could drop a branch on his head. LDC have turned this beautiful little garden space into a derelict brownfield site devoid of all living things in record time. Sigh.
On 21 May 2008 at 2:00pm Howard wrote:
Taff - try lindsay.frost@lewes.gov.uk
In fact, let's all give him a call.
On 21 May 2008 at 9:08pm s.oliver wrote:
Well I try to just stick with the facts, so hopefully it will keep me out of trouble.
I would definitely encourage e-mailing Lindsay Frost and asking why the 'ice house' does not have Listed building Consent for demolition whens not listed when it is a structure not only attached to, but part of the Listed Twitten walls. and quote the Planning Act 1990. where for the purpose of the act it shall include as Listed '
(a) any object or structure fixed to the listed building.'
On 22 May 2008 at 11:33am geoff wrote:
If the Sussex Express is trying to protect Cllr Gardiner you could e-mail him directly instead via Lewes.Gov site. there is a 'Contac t your local Councillor' section.

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