The Phoenix in Lewes has received planning permission

15 February 2024

Monitoring Progress

The Society has been following with interest The Phoenix development proposed for Lewes for over a year.  We were lucky to have had a presentation from the developers Human Nature last November.

The Observer Guardian has piblished 17/3/24 a article on the scheme by Rowan Moore its Architecture Critic Open Link.

Planning Permission

After nearly a year of consultation with the Planning Authority (South Downs National Park) the good news is that planning permission has been granted subject to agreement with the Highways Authority and a Section106 agreement.

The Announcement from Human Nature can be read here

The Scheme

The scheme will transform a 7.9-hectare brownfield site in the centre of Lewes which is within the South Downs National Park into the UK’s most sustainable neighbourhood.

The mixed-income, multi-tenure development will provide 685 homes (with 30% affordable – made up of 154 homes at local housing allowance levels and the remainder as First Homes), creating a place to start out in life and a place to stay. 

The scheme deliberately prioritises people over cars, and will be a walkable, multi-use development.  Upon completion it will be the UK’s largest timber-structure neighbourhood.

Human Nature intend it to be a blueprint for sustainable placemaking and social impact that can be deployed at scale.

Jonathan Smales, Founder and CEO of Human Nature has commented:

 “The current mainstream model of development is catastrophic, baking in deeply unsustainable fabric, infrastructure and transport, fuelling the climate and nature crises; it also creates social divisions and exacerbates loneliness. We aim to show that living sustainably can be a joy, not an exercise in self-denial, made far easier by the design of neighbourhoods. We’re working with an amazing team, bringing together best practices in sustainable design, urbanism and construction to provide a new breakthrough model with the Phoenix. 

“Our focus on radically improving environmental and social impacts through the power of placemaking is uncommon in 21st-century Britain. But the result won’t feel unfamiliar, rather a return to traditions we’ve forgotten: a place of elegantly designed buildings made using local materials, streets safe for children to play in, with most daily needs met within a short walk and where it’s easy to meet and socialise with your neighbours.”

Lessons for Guildford

The scheme has many features that Guildford should consider for some of its schemes notably, good public consultation, modern building techniques, proper prioritsation of pedestrians over cars, and good design including heat pumps for heating and cooling.

Please see our previous posts on this innovative scheme below.

Share this article

Related Articles

Help us make Guildford better

We want our town to be vibrant, attractive and liveable. We support development that brings a sense of place and enhances the best aspects of our town. If such aims can be embraced, we believe Guildford has the chance to lead the way in enabling sensitive and sustainable development.

Pressures for development are increasing. Planning rules are being eased. The Society’s commitment to standing up for Guildford is needed more than ever.

Support Us

Getting involved allows the society to continue its work.   We welcome new members, from every age and background.  Membership provides an opportunity for you to contribute to the continued health of the town and surrounding area, and to meet other people who care about Guildford.