A new public inquiry on plans had been scheduled for Tuesday, February 6, as developer Persimmon continues to push to be allowed to build on the land.
“The start of the Chatsmore Farm public inquiry has unfortunately had to be delayed because the planning inspector involved is ill,” a spokesperson for Worthing Borough Council said.
"The first day of evidence was due to be tomorrow at Worthing Town Hall but that has been cancelled. Instead, the inquiry is now due to begin a week later.”
This comes after protestors gathered at the land to ‘form the word no’ on Saturday (February 3).
The event was organised by Sir Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West. Click here to read more.
Dr Beccy Cooper, leader of Worthing Borough Council, joined with local residents, councillors, MPs and other members of the community, who ‘also feel strongly’ that this land should not be built on
Dr Cooper said: "Worthing Borough Council has consistently refused permission to build houses on Chatsmore Farm. Worthing is 95 per cent developed, with the smallest amount of green space per person in the country (less than a snooker table!)
"As we all know, green space is essential for our health and the health of our planet. Our requirement for homes here must now be met with our remaining brownfield sites and making better use of the housing and other buildings that we already have.”
Persimmon Homes’ original appeal against the council’s refusal was successful. After that subsequent decision was challenged, a court hearing was held on a ‘procedural matter’, Persimmon said.
A spokesperson for the developer added: "There is an acute shortage of new homes in Worthing which an independent planning inspector has described as ‘exceptional’. This shortage causes real problems for local people in need.
“Due to a procedural error, our original appeal which granted planning permission for this site is now having to be reconsidered, and we await the outcome of this process.
“We remain eager to deliver more affordable homes for local people in Worthing. This is why we have offered a local homes guarantee that will see a significant proportion of homes for private sale reserved for local residents.”
According to Persimmon, the local homes guarantee will see 40 per cent of all homes for private sale reserved for a period of six months for people with a local connection to Worthing, ‘as defined by the council’.
The developer said this ‘complements’ the 40 per cent of homes that will also be made available for shared ownership and affordable rent.
Worthing Borough Council said it has been clear that green spaces are ‘vital for our health and the health of our planet’.
"This includes Chatsmore Farm and we are fighting to protect it from housing,” a spokesperson added.
"Assuming the planning inspector has recovered, it is likely that the inquiry will now start at 10am on Tuesday, February 13. The inquiry is open to the public and anyone can come along to listen to what is being said.
"Residents can also register with the Planning Inspectorate if they want to speak at the inquiry.
“Originally the planning inspector had earmarked eight days in February for the inquiry so as soon as we know what days are now expected to be used, we’ll tell you.”