What we doLewes Town Council's role
Lewes Town Council is the parish authority for the town of Lewes, East Sussex, which has a population of approximately 18,000. The council is based at Lewes Town Hall, a historical venue at the heart of the town of Lewes.
The council provides a wide range of facilities and represents the interests of the town to other bodies whilst working in partnership with Lewes District and East Sussex County Council, as well as other agencies and groups.
The council has certain powers and its own budget which is used to manage and support services like allotments, community grants and public amenities including benches, bus stops, bins and CCTV, venues including Lewes Town Hall, the All Saints Centre and Malling Community Centre, and key spaces around the town, such as Lewes Priory, the Pells and Landport Bottom.
Lewes Town Council maintains six allotment sites in Lewes. The council is responsible for the Allotments Working Party, which manages the sites. For details on location and availability see our Allotments page.
Our sites are at:
- Landport Road
- Paddock Road
- Queens Road, Malling
- Church Lane, Malling
For more information on allotments, including how to rent a plot, please visit our allotments page.
Art and heritage
Lewes Town Hall enjoys a delightful situation on Lewes High Street, and is home to many historical and cultural artefacts depicting the history of Lewes. Information about our paintings and the Town Hall complex are available on this website. Visiting the Town Hall is free (but visitors must first enquire to ensure the rooms you want to see are not in use), and the Town Hall usually opens for the annual Heritage Open Day events in September.
The council owns a statue of Thomas Paine located outside Lewes Library which was commissioned in 2009, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his death, as a gift to the town of Lewes.
Lewes Town Council is responsible for maintenance of the Lewes War Memorial, which was commissioned in 1919 and erected in 1922.
Lewes Town Council is responsible in partnership with the Friends of Lewes for historic building plaques around the town and the Battle of Lewes interpretation board at the Castle Precincts viewing point.
Lewes Town Council has exercised its power to provide and maintain public clocks under the Parish Council’s Act 1957. The council owns the Town Clock, which hangs from the tower at St Michael’s Church on Lewes High Street, as well as the turret clock mounted in the tower that tops Fitzroy House.
Commemorations and events
Lewes Town Council continually monitors anniversaries of significant events in Lewes and British history. The council often works in partnership with other organisations and groups to mark these appropriately, with a Commemorations and Events working party dedicated to managing the council’s participation in these events.
The Mayor and the council host annual events including:
- Spring Tea for senior residents
- Lewes Allotment Show
- Participation in Lewes Late Night Shopping
In recent years we have initiated or collaborated in:
- The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022
- The Battle of Lewes 750th anniversary in 2014
- First World War commemorations between 2014 and 2018
The Town Hall Manager oversees the bookings for the Lewes Town Hall Tuesday Indoor Market, please contact us for more information or to book a stall.
For event listings, see the What’s On guides in our News section, or on the All Saints and Malling Community Centre pages.
Lewes Town Council offers an attractive choice of venues to organisations, businesses and private hirers. We own three key buildings in Lewes: Lewes Town Hall, the All Saints Centre and Malling Community Centre offer facilities in the town of Lewes for conferences, meetings, seminars, training sessions, exhibitions, wedding and naming ceremonies. Full information about these buildings including how to hire them is available on their individual pages.
Flying the flag
The council observes national guidelines for flying the Union Flag which include Royal birthdays, Remembrance Sunday and other key dates. We also fly other flags such as United Nations and the Royal British Legion.
The council runs four cycles of community grant-giving per year, offering up to £2000 for organisations working for the benefit of the community.
Applications can be made for help towards a special project, or the everyday running costs of your organisation.
For more information please see our Grants page.
Lewes Neighbourhood Plan
A Neighbourhood Plan for Lewes was adopted as policy in April 2019, by the planning authority for Lewes – the South Downs National Park Authority.
The Neighbourhood Plan is based upon contributions of visitors to exhibitions and workshops over four years, and the work done by the community representatives who formed our steering group during that period.
Policies on themes such as transport and protection of the town’s heritage as well as potential sites for new homes and ideas for design were refined in light of residents’ comments following consultation.
Lewes Town Council also consulted with statutory bodies such as Lewes District Council; East Sussex County Council; South Downs National Park Authority; the Environment Agency; Natural England; Historic England and others to agree the plan. It will be reviewed in 2023.
Read the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan on the SDNPA’s website or visit the Town Hall to find a printed copy.
Parks and open spaces
Lewes Town Council owns several parks and open spaces around the town, as well as the Love Lane tree belt. We issue issues permits for limited fishing at the Pells Lake during the open season.
Our financial support fund for local residents’ associations to provide amenities such as winter road-salt bins in their neighbourhood, and cash we may give from time in partnership with bodies like the Friends of Lewes (the town’s Civic Society) for appropriate heritage designs when historic street lights or other features are threatened with replacement by utilitarian modern designs. There are other things Lewes Town Council does not own, but which we help to support, like the Sussex Police CCTV camera network in the town; bicycle parking racks, and town centre flower baskets in season.
Policies and strategies
We have a dedicated section where you can find key policies and strategies to enable residents to understand the operational structure of Lewes Town Council, its processes and objectives.
Planning applications - local comment
Lewes Town Council is entitled to be notified of all planning applications within the parish, and to offer local comment on applications, which must be given due consideration by the deciding authority, but it cannot actually approve or reject them.
The deciding authority in Lewes town is the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), but for most purposes it acts through its agents, Lewes District Council. Over 90% of ordinary applications are dealt with by Lewes District Council officers using delegated authority, with more complex or contentious applications reviewed by the SDNPA’s Planning Committee. Lewes Town Council’s local comment assists the authority and its agents in making its decisions, offering a consideration from a local perspective.
The Lewes Town Council Planning Committee usually meets every three weeks to review the weekly lists of local applications. The committee has delegated authority to exercise all the powers of the council related to planning matters including Highways; transport, and Tree Preservation Orders and so on.
Planning comments are usually sent to the District Council and SDNPA by Friday following a meeting, and are posted on their website shortly afterward. The committee phrases comments in terms of technical planning criteria and may use phrases such as “strongly object” and propose that the District Council or SDNPA call the application before a committee for detailed assessment.
We encourage prospective applicants to approach our committee early to discuss their plans and seek a view on their proposals. Pre-application discussions with the District Council or SDNPA are encouraged for significant plans.
Lewes Town Council owns around 130 bench seats and 50 bins around the town, and 15 bus shelters. These are maintained by the Town Ranger. Please contact us if you believe one of our amenities is in need of repair.
There are many other benches, bins and bus shelters which may be owned by a bus company, Lewes District Council, East Sussex County Council, or another body.
If you wish to enquire about dedicating a public seat in memorial, or represent a resident’s group that wishes to provide amenities in your area, please contact us
Weddings at the Town Hall
Lewes Town Hall is a spectacular building in the heart of Lewes which offers the perfect location for your special day.
The Council Chamber is licensed to hold 80 guests which offers a traditional setting with oak panelled walls, beautifully decorated to provide a first-class environment for wedding and naming ceremonies.
Services provided by other councils
Lewes District Council
Each county is divided into several districts. District councils cover smaller areas and provide more local services. Lewes District Council is responsible for some services in Lewes, including council housing, council tax, public toilets, leisure facilities, local planning, recycling and waste collection.
For more information and general enquiries: visit Lewes District Council’s website where you can report problems, make payments or apply for benefits or phone the Lewes District Council switchboard number 01273 471600.
East Sussex County Council
East Sussex County Council operates over a large area and provides services such as education, social services, highways, parking, blue badges and public transportation.
For more information and general enquiries: visit East Sussex County Council’s website or call the East Sussex County Council switchboard 0345 608 0190.
Who to contact if…
Your rubbish or recycling hasn’t been collected
Lewes District Council: call 01273 471600 or report online
You need a recycling or garden waste bin
Lewes District Council: call 01273 471600 or request online
You would like a parking permit in Lewes
East Sussex County Council: find information online or visit Lewes Library
A street light isn’t working, or you’ve noticed a pothole
East Sussex Highways: 0345 6080193. Email email@example.com
You need information about benefits
- Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax reduction Lewes District Council: 01273 471600 For more information see the Lewes District Council website
- Jobseekers Allowance Lewes Jobcentre Plus: 0345 604 371 For more information see the gov.uk website
- Other working age benefits Jobcentre Plus, Medwyn House, Lewes: 0345 604 371 For more information see the gov.uk website
- Child Benefit National Helpline: 0300 200 3100 For more information see the HM Revenue & Customs website
- Tax Credits National Helpline: 0345 300 3900 For more information see the HM Revenue & Customs website
You are a council tenant and need housing repairs
Lewes District Council: call 01273 471600 or report online
You are being bothered by a persistent bad smell, smoke, or noise
Lewes District Council: report online
You want to get married or register your baby’s birth
The Registrar at Lewes: 0345 60 80 198. For more information about registering births and deaths, visit the East Sussex County Council website