Proposals to build almost 500 homes on part of Goring Gap have been refused by Worthing Borough Council as the authority underlined its commitment to protect the town’s green gaps.
In August last year developer Persimmon submitted an outline planning application to build 475 homes on the land known as Chatsmore Farm, near Goring Railway Station.
On Wednesday, March 10 the planning committee refused the bid, with councillors stating the development would negatively impact the landscape and the setting of the South Downs National Park.
They also cited concerns over green space protection, infrastructure and blurring the identities of the Goring and Ferring communities.
The refusal follows the Council’s decision to designate Chatsmore Farm as a protected green space in the Draft Worthing Local Plan.
Cllr Paul High, Chairman of the Worthing Planning Committee, said: “We recognise the value that this much-loved, green open space provides to the community.
“The committee listened to the voices of residents and stakeholders, which is why we overwhelmingly rejected this application.
“We have made it clear in the Local Plan that we want to protect this space for residents and visitors now and for future generations to come, and I’m pleased the committee refused this development.”
Chatsmore Farm is currently used for agricultural purposes and sits north west of the railway station. It is bordered by the railway line to the south, Goring Street and the A259 to the east, and the Ferring Rife stream to the north.
More than 1,200 residents objected to the proposals, with various action groups and organisations also voicing their concerns.
The Goring Residents Association argued surrounding roads could not accommodate overspill parking, should insufficient parking provision not have been provided for residents and visitors on the development site.
Fears were raised about the visual presence of the build, including by the South Downs National Park Authority, which stated the development had the potential to detrimentally impact the setting of the nearby National Park.
Councillors listened to these concerns and also referenced the current Worthing Core Strategy and draft Local Plan, both of which list Chatsmore Farm as a place not allocated for development.
The site is instead given Local Green Space allocation, which allows communities to identify and protect green spaces which are of particular importance to them; and a Local Green Gap allocation, which helps to preserve the separate characters of different settlements.