Councillors battle to prevent Lewes House becoming hotel

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An idea to turn a council-owned building in Lewes, East Sussex, into a boutique hotel has turned into a political bun fight between council members.

Lewes House, which was home to the town hall and other council services, could become a boutique hotel, according to Rob Blackman, leader of Lewes District Council.

But Lib Dem group leader Sarah Osborne, says the building is historically important, and should remain open to the public. She also criticised the boutique hotel idea as unworkable.

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“I’m surprised and dismayed that Rob Blackman has underestimated just how important Lewes House is economically as well as culturally. Cllr Blackman already knows that recent reports by independent consultants said that it is unlikely to be financially viable as a hotel because it is too small, has a pre-existing covenant, a lack of parking and would face competition from current and future hotels.

“I find the lack of commercial foresight in someone who is supposed to be in charge of our district terrifying. I know we are extremely fortunate that Lewes House is in public ownership and as the recent public exhibition has shown there is enormous potential for it to be a key cultural asset,” Osborne told Sussex Express.

Cllr Blackman sparked the row earlier this month with the suggestion that Lewes House would make “a fantastic boutique hotel.”

Since the council moved out, there have been temporary exhibitions held in the building.

 

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