Worthing residents unite to protect popular sanctuary from development

Worthing residents have rallied round a much-loved wildlife sanctuary threatened with development.

A 60-acre plot of land in the Nancy Price Sanctuary, off Honeysuckle Lane in High Salvington, was the subject of an ‘adverse possession claim’, also known as squatters’ rights, by a property looking to extend its back garden.

The attempted purchase of the protected land, which is owned by Worthing Borough Council, angered residents including the High Salvington Residents’ Association (HSRA).

The group’s chairman, Mary Meadows, said it was ‘inconceivable’ that the land would even be considered for sale.

Nancy's Sanctuary, Honeysuckle Lane in Worthing. Pic S Robards SR2105103 SUS-211005-174458001

“The HSRA submitted strong objections to the council, in which serious concerns were also expressed about the potential for this intended sale to set a very unwelcome precedent,” Mary said.

“The sanctuary is in an area of outstanding natural beauty, part of the national park and listed as a site of nature conservation importance and therefore simply must be kept in its entirety.”

Following a consultation period that was launched on April 13, the application to purchase the 420.2 square metre plot of land was withdrawn amid mounting public pressure.

Mary said the residents’ association was ‘absolutely delighted’ to have stopped the sale.

Nancy's Sanctuary, Honeysuckle Lane in Worthing. Pic S Robards SR2105103 SUS-211005-174444001

The Nancy Price Sanctuary was named after a 1939 campaign by Worthing actress Nancy Price, with backers including Queen Mary and the Duke of Norfolk, to protect the land from developers.

Nancy donated 52 per cent of the asking price for the land to the council under the understanding it would be kept as a sanctuary.

Mary said the area is much-loved by locals, as well as visitors looking for some peace and quiet.

A spokesman for Worthing Borough Council confirmed the consultation period had been extended, but the application to buy the plot of land had since been withdrawn.