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October 15 2015.

LDC release:

Lewes District Council has adapted its proposal to build new homes at Meeching Down in Newhaven in response to feedback following initial consultation events.

Councillors at a full council meeting yesterday (Wed, Oct 14) heard revised plans for affordable, Council-owned housing to be built at the 17-acre site as part of the New Homes scheme.

The number of homes has been reduced from 96 to around 72, and around 75 per cent of the site will remain as open, green space for public use.

The Council plans to preserve this open space indefinitely by legal means and pass ownership of it to Newhaven Town Council.

This area is classified as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) and councillors today agreed for further ecology studies to be carried out there. This will help identify opportunities to enhance biodiversity and ways to balance out the impact of development.

Internationally-renowned architects Conran and Partners, based in Lewes, would design the ecohomes sensitively so they blend into the landscape.

There are about 1,700 people waiting for homes on the Council’s housing register and this number is forecast to increase by 549 annually, with only 244 homes becoming available in the next 12 months. The Council’s existing housing stock does not meet the demand for one and two bedroom homes and the lack of availability means the Council cannot offer housing within the short term to anyone except those in the most difficult circumstances.

It is proposed that the majority of the homes at Meeching Down will be one and two bedrooms.

Under the proposal, Meeching Down would be a car-free development to make it as ecologically friendly as possible.

Councillor Andy Smith, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “After the first round of consultation, it was clear to us that residents feel very strongly that the proposal for Meeching Down required more thought.

“We have taken on board their feedback and an alternative proposal has been put forward. Alongside the building of urgently-needed Council-owned homes for our residents, we are investing to make sure this green space is preserved, improving its accessibility so more people can enjoy it, and ensuring it supports a wider range of wildlife in the future.”

For more details about the New Homes project and information about drop-in sessions in your area visit