Statement by Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Labour’s Candidate for Parliament in Lewes) on North Street Development
Lewes Labour Party and myself have been asked by many people about our position on the developments in the North Street Quarter/Phoenix Development. Over the last year the local branch has taken a pro-active approach to engage on this issue, inviting speakers a number of times to talk to members on this issue and with many of our members in a personal capacity leading on the Phoenix Rising proposals.
It should noted that Lewes Labour Party has over a couple of years expressed concerns that any development in Lewes and district must prioritise social housing, shared ownership and cooperative solutions.
I believe that Lewes is in desperate need of housing that is suitable for local people so they are able to live and work in the town. Housing should not be built at the detriment of business and work in the town, but we can not let Lewes become a nice chocolatebox town where our children and family cannot afford to live and work.
I have continued to put pressure on the South Downs National Park and Lewes District Council to ensure that 40% of the commercial development land is high quality social housing, that there are places to work and live and that housing is appropriate to the needs of the local population we congratulate the Phoenix Rising group in pushing this agenda. I also believe that a higher percentage of alternative ownership models including cooperative ownership and shared ownership need to be prioritised for the 1/3 of land owned by the people of Lewes on their behalf by Lewes District Council.
I believe that any development will require cooperation from the owners of the land (of which Santon and District Council are the largest owners), the current tenants and also the local residents of the town. We congratulate Santon for engaging with the public in a wide range of public discussions throughout 2013 and early 2014 but reaffirm that any solution must take account of all local residents’ views and those expressed by Phoenix Rising and other pressure groups.
Lewes Labour Party believes that any outcome needs to balance both value for money in terms of the cash value of the land and the social use of the land in terms of housing that meets the needs of local people and local businesses. In this regard we have pushed for best value in other developments in Lewes.
Coming from a housing co-operative background, I support the idea of asset locks for both the land and social housing so they are not sold off and in this regard support the development of alternative ownership proposals to ensure that this is achieved.
Good quality social housing which is in the hands of the public is a vital part of developments in Lewes, that these developments should be mixed with other forms of home ownership and that private ownership should be the minority of any development.
I also note that any developments on the North Street Quarter must both protect the Pells, support the redevelopment of the Pells park (which requires some urgent investment) and ensure that no adverse flooding risk is put on Malling, in this regard all solutions should be explored to ensure flooding prevention is prioritised at the lowest cost to the taxpayer.
Lewes Labour Party candidates for the District Council will be standing on a platform of supporting social housing, best value of money for Lewes and a town which values places to work. We will continue to support all and any proposals which fulfil this vision.
If you wish to contact Lewes and Ouse Vally Labour Party Branch on any of these matters you may email firstname.lastname@example.org
Candidate for Parliament in Lewes
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