Worthing Borough Council’s fight to protect Chatsmore Farm
Worthing Borough Council is leading the community fight to save Goring Gap by taking the case to the High Court. The Council has instructed a barrister to develop a legal challenge to the Planning Inspectorate’s decision to allow hundreds of homes to be built at Chatsmore Farm.
Councillors had rejected a planning application by the developer Persimmon for permission to build 475 homes on the land between the borders of Ferring and Goring.
They agreed that the area was an important green gap and that development would adversely affect the setting of the South Downs National Park and add to traffic congestion.
But despite a government-appointed planning inspector clearly indicating to the Council that it was right to protect the space from development in its Local Plan for the area, a different inspector overturned the Council’s decision on appeal and said the homes could be built.
Letter to the Government prior to Chatsmore Farm meeting
Members of the community met at Chatsmore Farm at 3pm on Friday 25th March to show their unity against the planned development.
Before the meeting, Cllr Kevin Jenkins, the Leader of Worthing Borough Council, wrote to Housing Secretary Michael Gove calling for the Government to step in and block the development. He said: “It cannot be right that one planning inspector can simply ignore the evidence and decision of another.
“Chatsmore Farm is a vital green lung for Worthing and no one here – not the Council, not the opposition, not local residents – wants to see it built upon. We will not stand by and allow our few remaining green gaps to be concreted over in a dash to meet arbitrary, unsustainable housing targets imposed on us by Whitehall.
“I hope people will join me with Sir Peter Bottomley at 3pm on Friday at Chatsmore Farm to show our opposition to this decision.”
Raising the issue in the House of Commons, Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley said developer Persimmon was “greedily trying to fill in the strategic green gap”.
Calling for the Prime Minister to review the case, Sir Peter said the appeal ruling “ran roughshod” over the responsibilities of councils to make planning decisions.