Goring Gap development in Worthing: Date for new public inquiry revealed

A date for a new public inquiry has been revealed as developers continue to fight for permission to build 475 properties on the green gap between Worthing and Ferring.
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Worthing Borough Council is preparing for what it hopes will be the final victory needed to protect Chatsmore Farm from development.

"Persimmon Homes is continuing to press for permission to build 475 properties on the green gap between Worthing and Ferring despite losing a series of court challenges,” a council spokesperson said.

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"The matter will now be considered by a new public inquiry to be held at Worthing Town Hall from Tuesday, February 6th to Thursday 8th, Tuesday, February 13th to Thursday 15th and Tuesday, February 20th to Wednesday 21st 2024.”

Protests were held at Chatsmore Farm (Photo by Eddie Mitchell)Protests were held at Chatsmore Farm (Photo by Eddie Mitchell)
Protests were held at Chatsmore Farm (Photo by Eddie Mitchell)

There’s not long left to join the fight to save the land. Members of the community have until the end of Monday (November 6) to submit comments at acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk or by emailing [email protected], using appeal reference 3281813.

Any comments on Persimmon’s application that have been made previously will also be considered again by the inspector.

Dr Beccy Cooper, the leader of Worthing Borough Council, said: “We have said it before and we will say it again – Chatsmore Farm is not for housing and we will fight to protect it.

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“We’re preparing our case for the public inquiry but we would welcome the support of anyone from the community who wants to add their voice to this campaign.

“We have told Persimmon no and our citizens have said no. It’s really disappointing that Persimmon continues to push ahead with its challenge, but we can and must win this battle to save Chatsmore Farm.”

Since the original planning decision was made, the council has adopted the Worthing Local Plan – the planning blueprint agreed with government inspectors that sets out where new homes can and can’t be built.

A spokesperson added: “It has therefore submitted to the public inquiry additional grounds for why the application should not be allowed, including that the development lies outside the built up area, would damage the designated green gap and would negatively affect the setting of South Downs National Park.”

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Earlier this year, Persimmon Homes went to the Court of Appeal to challenge Worthing Borough Council’s refusal to allow 475 properties on the green gap between Worthing and Ferring.

A panel of three judges rejected the developer’s case, meaning the council’s rejection of the planning application stood.

This was the latest defeat after series of court challenges but the developer is ‘continuing to press for permission’ to build 475 properties on the green gap between Worthing and Ferring, the council said.

Persimmon Homes said in July that it was ‘naturally disappointed’ with the court’s decision, adding: “Our goal was to provide new homes in an area of extremely high housing need."

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In August, the developer added: “The council’s legal challenge was successful on the basis of a procedural shortcoming rather than a fundamental judgement on the issue of housing need or principle of development.

“The standard legal process, following this technical error, is for the application to be reconsidered by a new planning inspector and that is the process which is being followed by the independent planning inspectorate.”

Meanwhile, an appeal against the rejection of plans for 70 homes on green space surrounding Lansdowne Nursery, in Ferring, has been dismissed by planning inspectorate.

It comes after Michael Gove – the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – said the UK Government ‘needs to ensure’ that green gaps such as Lansdowne Nursery and Chatsmore Farm are protected.