Managing Director, LCE Architects[Back to list]
What a fantastic idea!
When people want to associate a development with greatness, they use such words as icon, landmark, exemplar, but in practice these developments rarely match their hype. But in this case, the idea almost ensures a status worth the name.
On the one hand, we have a desperate shortage in the housing allocation within both the boroughs that the site sits in and, in the neighbouring boroughs. On the other hand there is a scar on the landscape within our newest National Park and within the world’s newest Biosphere.
Anybody’s immediate response is likely to be: “That can’t be right – a new town- ship within the National Park!”
But think about it; 2,000+ dwellings, relatively un- seen, with nothing protrud- ing above the natural line of the quarry, where you take a solar powered lift to the roof to gain access to the National Park.
This genuinely could be a town for the future. The Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere is the latest of 617 biospheres across 117 countries, one of only six in the UK and the first here in almost 40 years, with only a handful of which worldwide, include major urban settlements.
There is a limit to what one can do in improving the existing settlements, but imagine a whole new settlement dedicated to pushing the boundaries in regard to biodiversity and all that it stands for. The aims of the Biosphere are “To serve as a world-class demonstration area of how we might live better in the future, in greater harmony with our local environment by bringing people and nature closer together”. I cannot think of a better way of doing this than to build a brand new conurbation in the quarry.
The project’s promoters, the South Down Project, have a real vision for the project to make it a world-class environment. They aspire to build over the A283 which cuts the current site in two, they have a credible transport partner in the local arm of the Go Ahead group with an ambitious transport plan to mitigate its rural location. They are also very committed to creating a new town that meets our needs in the 21st century in terms of work, rest and play, whilst at the same time improving our environ- ment. I wish them the very best of luck in their endeavours.
Nicholas Lomax, MD, LCE Architects.