The centre of the universe

My town – Lewes – is at the centre of the universe right now.

Or at least that’s what it feels like.

Because with planning permission for The Phoenix in the bag, Human Nature can really shout about what they’ve got in store for us here in Lewes.

But a town-changing announcement like this doesn’t come out of nowhere, and the work they’ve done to get us to this point has been phenomenal.

So, lest we forget, here are a few things to appreciate about the journey so far:

✅ Enough ambition right from the start to inspire and excite us. No half-measures here just to fit the mould and play it safe.

✅ A three-day design festival which was so much more than just a few panels with dry information. There was plenty to see, hear, do, eat and drink.

✅ Yes, there were panels with information – but these were a cut above. ‘Youthfulness’! ‘Elegance, wit and imperfection’!

✅ Great workshops (including this one led by Mellis Haward of Archio – I’m there in the middle with short hair and glasses, looking very serious).

✅ As much honesty about the lowlights as about the highlights, and regular, always welcome, despatches from the front-line.

✅ A willingness to engage with people who don’t agree, along with an understanding that this is all part of the process.

✅ A masterpiece of a Design & Access Statement. Yes, even a DAS can be a pleasure to read.

✅ A campaign that got people protesting FOR a planning application. In Human Nature’s words: ‘Can we propose with the same enthusiasm and energy we find to oppose? Will Phoenix Rise? It must.’

I’m sure I don’t know the half of it, because I’ve just been a bystander on the sidelines (though perhaps a particularly engaged bystander with a fair amount of professional interest).

Hats off, then, to the whole Human Nature team. I’ve been with them on the journey from the start, and I’ll be with them all the way.

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