West Sussex green space development appeal rejected - 'Signals the end of this chapter'

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An appeal against the rejection of proposals to build 70 homes on valuable green place in West Sussex has now also been dismissed.

Plans for 70 homes to be built on green space surrounding Lansdowne Nursery, in Ferring, were turned down by Arun District Council earlier this year.

The developer, unhappy with this decision, submitted an appeal to the Secretary of State – but this has been ‘overwhelmingly rejected’ by the planning inspectorate.

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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.

Members of the Ferring Conservation Group with MP Sir Peter Bottomley and councillor Roger ElkinsMembers of the Ferring Conservation Group with MP Sir Peter Bottomley and councillor Roger Elkins
Members of the Ferring Conservation Group with MP Sir Peter Bottomley and councillor Roger Elkins

Mr Gove MP was answering a question asked by Worthing West Conservative MP, Sir Peter Bottomley, in the House of Commons on October 16.

Sir Peter said: “It is the right decision. I was glad to be able to be able to help with this important step forward.

“The elected Conservative councillors, Roger Elkins and Mark Turner MBE, teamed with the village community groups, Ferring and Angmering Parish Councils and the district and county council, together with my efforts at the parliamentary level.

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"I thank the local newspaper for consistently covering the issues. We have to protect the environment. We need more homes.

"The new homes we need should be in the centre of villages, towns and cities where elderly people can choose to live without the need for a car. We need starter homes which can be above shops and offices.

"There is no justification to threaten every field, vineyard, nursery and golf club providing community space and green lungs along the south coast.

"The case was made abundantly clear in defence of our green gaps. Thank you to all who have been involved in this important campaign. We win many battles. We can't win them all. We win more when we work together.”

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Residents across Ferring, Angmering, Arun and Worthing communities fought hard against the proposals.

In rejecting the appeal, the planning inspectorate agreed that the development would ‘harm the character and appearance of the area’, giving ‘rise to intrusive sprawl’ and ‘eroding the character and nature’ of communities in Worthing and Arun.

A spokesperson for Mr Bottomley added: “This signals the end of this chapter and this wanton and egregious attempt to concrete over this necessary green gap between distinct communities. Communities and constituents will share in welcoming this update.”

Roger Elkins, county councillor and borough councillor for Ferring, said the development’s rejection was ‘a great outcome’.

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"Having fought to protect the village of Ferring from unsuitable development over many years, I thank the hundreds of residents and community groups who made their views known,” Mr Elkins added.

"Such a proposed housing scheme would have severely compromised the integrity and function of the gap that is unique to the identity and distinctiveness of Ferring.“My thanks to Arun’s Planning Officer Zac Ellwood for presenting a well prepared case at the appeal.”

Ferring Councillor Mark Turner MBE said: “As a relatively new councillor but resident of Ferring for over 60 years, I am delighted and honoured to have been part of this sensible dismissal of this development application.

“The planning officer, Zac Ellwood, deserves commendation for articulating a very strong council position very effectively.”

Meanwhile, a date for a new public inquiry has been revealed as developers continue to press for permission to build 475 properties on the green gap between Worthing and Ferring.

Worthing Borough Council is preparing for what it hopes will be the final victory needed to protect Chatsmore Farm from development.

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.