Goring Gap excluded from Worthing conservation area plans
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Public consultations are to be held on proposed updated boundaries for the Steyne Gardens conservation area, plans for a new Marine Gardens conservation area, and on an updated character appraisal for the Goring Hall conservation area.
The Worthing Society had asked for the Goring Hall conservation area to include the Goring/Ferring gap at Chatsmore Farm, which has been earmarked for homes by developers.
But an intermin report in July by Adur & Worthing Councils officers showed ‘historic research’ of Goring Hall did not support the inclusion of the gap.
Additionally, Historic England says it is ‘rarely appropriate’ for conservation areas to be extended to protect their wider landscape, and agricultural land is not affected by conservation area designation as it falls outside the planning framework.
Previously, Worthing Borough Council had tried to designate Chatsmore Farm as local green space under the National Planning Policy Framework and the Worthing Local Plan. The planning inspectorate rejected this idea when reviewing the plan, but council planning officers said they would still work to protect the two spaces.
Earlier this 2023, Persimmon Homes went to the Court of Appeal to challenge Worthing Borough Council’s refusal to allow 475 properties on the Goring Gap. A panel of three judges rejected the developer’s case, meaning the council’s rejection of the planning application stood.
In July, 2023, Persimmon Homes said it was ‘naturally disappointed’ with the court’s decision. A spokesperson said: “As is required by the standard legal process, because the independent planning inspector was found to have made a procedural error, our planning application will now be reconsidered by a different planning inspector.”
The council said the matter would be reconsidered by a new planning inquiry ‘at some point in the coming months’, adding: “Worthing Borough Council is preparing for what it hopes will be the final victory needed to protect Chatsmore Farm from developers.”
The Goring Hall and Steyne Gardens conservation areas have not been assessed since the early 2000s, according to council officers. The extension of Steyne Gardens would include Denton Gardens, and the Beach House park and grounds.
Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee had previously gave its support to a new Marine Gardens conservation area, which would encompass the gardens and surrounding buildings.
The proposal from the Worthing Society would include Marine Gardens and its restaurant, which were established in 1930, and the three main housing blocks of Hastings, Romney and Winchelsea Courts that surround the gardens.
Committee members said the report had ‘lots in it that’s good’, adding they ‘fully supported’ the proposals. Council officers added it was a ‘logical’ proposal.
The public consultations were approved by Worthing’s cabinet member for regeneration, Caroline Baxter (Lab, Central), on Wednesday October 11, with dates to be confirmed.