Six months ago, Charles Style told a Chamber of Commerce meeting that his company had commissioned a 3D virtual model of his proposed Phoenix Quarter development. Last Thursday he sat in a meeting with members of Lewes Matters and environmentalists to talk about sustainability: what impact 775 new homes, 80 thousand square feet of new offices and 80 thousand square feet of new retail might have on the town.
"What we have is a 3D model of the development," said Charles.
Could anyone see it? No. Could he tell us when we could see it? No. Who was building this model? "Some company in Wales," said Charles. Didn't he remember the name of the company? No.
Charles had come to listen, and everyone likes to be heard. The environmentalists told Charles what features they would like to see in the new buildings. Charles knew about some carbon-saving insulation, and said he would consider recycling rainwater. One man from Friends of the Earth impressed upon Charles the importance of anaerobic digestion as a renewable form of energy. Charles said he would look into it.
Charles promised that the biggest addition to the town since the Victorians would not be a shopping mall like Brighton's Churchill Square. But how will he back this promise? Does he have any policy to limit size, ownership or market sector of the retailers that will rent space in the Phoenix Quarter? "No", he said, he does not.
What does he tell his investors then, about this new retail opportunity?
"I'm not looking for investors," said Charles.