Depot, Lewes Community Screen is recognised with prestigious planning industry award

Depot, Lewes Community Screen has been highly commended for Excellence in Planning in Heritage and Culture at the national Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2018. The RTPI Awards are the longest running and most high-profile awards in the UK planning industry. For over 40 years, they have rewarded the brightest talent in the profession; the teams, projects and individuals that transform economies, environments, and their communities all over the UK and internationally.

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The transformation of the former Harvey’s brewery depot in Lewes, a prominent location close to the railway station, into a major arts venue - with a cinema, restaurant and education facilities known as ‘Depot, Lewes Community Screen’ - had already been crowned the overall winner at the RTPI South East Awards for Planning Excellence and has now been recognised nationally.

The previously vacant site is in a prominent, sensitive location within Lewes Conservation Area, the South Downs National Park, and surrounded by numerous listed buildings, which has been sensitively redeveloped to provide a new community 3-screen cinema with a café/bar, restaurant and film education and training facilities. The redevelopment, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer, also includes new green infrastructure including an orchard, wild flower garden and landscaping.

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The judges’s comments were “A desire to reuse existing buildings to create The Depot rather than simply redevelop the site demonstrates proactive planning at its best. The planners undertook useful, ongoing engagement with the local community, including very strong pre application consultation – a key to this project’s success. The project team worked closely with key stakeholders to deliver a community arts centre that is universally supported and of genuine community value.” 

RTPI commented “Depot is a new community cinema in the town of Lewes. The design is an excellent example of the creative re-imagination and re-use of an originally utilitarian building within a conservation area and surrounded by listed buildings. The design acknowledges the significance of the building in its wider context and re-purposes it sympathetically using modern and sustainable additions. Through good planning practice and early community engagement the resulting development is a triumph and an amazing community facility.”