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Worthing seeks judicial review of approval of farm development on appeal

Words: Laura Edgar
Legal challenge / iStock-914921790

Worthing Borough Council has submitted a legal challenge to the High Court to prevent more than 450 homes being built on land at Chatsmore Farm.

In March 2021, councillors rejected a planning application for 475 homes on the land between the borders of Ferring and Goring by developer Persimmon Homes. More than 1,200 letters had been submitted in objection to the planning application.

Members determined that the land is an “important green gap and that development would adversely affect the setting of the South Downs National Park and add to traffic congestion”. The green gap is protected from development in the emerging local plan, something the inspector examining the plan has indicated is right, the council explained.

The developer appealed against the decision.

The Planner reported that inspector Rory Cridland declared that the council had objected to the scheme on the basis of the site’s rural location, which it deemed inappropriate for a development of this scale, as well as potential harm to the South Downs National Park, 200 metres away from the site. Furthermore, Cridland noted that policy 13 of the Worthing Core Strategy limits new development to within the built-up area boundary and favours using already-developed sites rather than green spaces.

Persimmon contended that both the policy and the built-up boundary were out of date, and restricted necessary development.

The inspector refuted this argument but did concede that an “exceptionally high” shortage of housing in the Worthing area provided grounds for a potential exception to policy 13.

A spokesperson for Worthing Borough Council said: “Building on Goring Gap might be right for the developer but it is wrong for Worthing. We are determined to stop this unwanted development.

“We have now taken our case to the High Court to fight for the right decision to be made, to protect this open space for the community and to prevent the urban sprawl along the coast.”

Read more:

Appeal: Lack of housing stock trumps green space and national park impacts

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