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Lewes Old Raccourse news



The owner has applied to add even more fences at the old racecourse and to have ratified the fences that have been erected without planning permission.


Here are pictures of part of the fencing that she seeks to retain:





It is also proposed to keep the newly constructed road shown in the upper picture.


Now it is also proposed to add yet more fencing and probably another road across the field that you can see on the right.  See the plans below:




You can see that in addition to the road and fence already built by the landowner in to the right of the map and at the bottom at point 3, it is proposed to build a road and fence in the middle of the site and at the left hand side and to fence part of the route currently in use.


It is also intended to put gates across the route currently in use. These gates would not be self-closing, although would will be handles for equestrians. Taken with the new gate at point 1, for which planning permission has not been applied, these gates constitute an obstacle course for cyclists and equestrians which appear to me to be to be an attempt to “encourage” these users to use the alternative route constructed by the landowner, where they will have to mix it with vehicular traffic.


The legal route of the bridleway, which is shown in green, would be obstructed at points 2 and 3.


You can find out more about the application at the South Downs National Park Authority web site at Monday


The reference is SDNP/17/05255/FUL





You may want to comment on this application.  The deadline for doing this is 22nd December.


You can do this by:


1)   Emailing the SDNPA at Make sure that you give the reference in your email

2)   Writing to the SDNPA planning department at South Downs Centre, North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9DH

3)   Commenting on-line at  This involves you registering, if you have not done so already, and logging in.


You should mention the things that are important to you but you might want to say:


a)   Although the old racecourse site is associated with horse racing, the frontage has traditionally been open space.  Open space is important to the public and is one of the things that people love the South Downs for.  In recent years the frontage has been increasingly fenced, but no further fencing should be allowed.  Already users feel corralled in what should be an open experience.


b)   More road building in a sensitive area should not be allowed. Given the nature of the soil a hard surface should not be necessary.


c)   Any roads and associated fences that ARE needed should take the shortest possible route.  There is no justification for the route to the east and the sourh of the site which goes “all round the houses”.  The owner of the all-weather gallop already has a right of way over the applicant’s land to access his land and this route should be used if one is needed.


d)   The fencing alongside the roads is unnecessary unless considerable public traffic is anticipated.  This sort of traffic should not be permitted.


e)   The legal right of way would be obstructed in two places.  It is important that the legal route is open and easy to use. We have already seen the problems that can emerge on the north side of the racecourse complex where the legal route deviates from the route in use.


f)    The route in use until recently would be gated in two places.  A gate has also been erected without planning permission at the north end of the site.  This gives the prospect of 3 gates where none existed before.  This route is heavily used by cyclists and equestrians and is a strong discouragement for these users from using the route.  Instead they would be encouraged to mix it with vehicular traffic on the “alternative route” created by the land owner.




The planning chaos that has existed at the old racecourse may be coming to an end, as the South Downs National Park has taken back control of all issues, including planning applications and planning enforcement, from Lewes District Council, to whom it had partially delegated a lot of decisions.


Here is what is happening on the various issues to the north of the racecourse buildings:


1)   The Open Spaces Society has applied for the wider route of the bridleway, which was in use until last year, to be added to the rights of way map, to be added to the map of rights of way. This will take at least another year to be decided.  The land owner here has erected a fence across this route.  The legal right of way runs to the west of this route, but the land owner has diverted the route to the east.  In the process a number of shrubs and trees have been destroyed.

2)   The society has asked the National Park to take action to get the fence, which does not have planning permission, removed and to take action over the trees and shrubs.