In 2007 BBM were appointed to carry out a detailed feasibility study to transform a disused goods yard into a vibrant mixed use development which would be supportive of residents wishing to pursue low environmental impact lifestyles and businesses which would bring added diversity to the retail and office accommodation of this area, immediately adjacent Lewes’ busy mainline rail station.
A large multi-disciplinary team of consultants were mobilised to scope the constraints of this very complex site with tortuous existing vehicular circulation problems, major underground services and a flood risk potential.
The accommodation was split into a series of new build blocks arranged to form a new urban courtyard with the former depot building proposed to be transformed into a lively market and restaurant. The new accommodation was being designed to be close to a zero carbon potential and consisted of five live / work units, five retail units, rentable office accommodation and a mix of studio and one bedroom flats aimed at the young commuter market. A high proportion of the homes were for the social housing sector, and allotment roof gardens were also proposed.
With sustainable transport in mind, the scheme looked to adopt a five space car club facility and excellent lock up cycle storage. Being next to the station and many bus routes and within five minutes walk of most of Lewes’ town centre shopping and leisure facilities, the scheme hoped to set a benchmark in low impact living. Improvements to the adjacent road surfaces would ease clashes between pedestrians and vehicles.
The project culminated with two evenings of public consultation held in the depot building in the summer of 2008. Over one hundred public responses were collected and submitted to the Planning Department to help inform their feedback. The impact of the 2008 recession has to date held up work on a reworking of the scheme which will endeavour to address the many issues raised.