Local Plan for future housing and environment
A blueprint for planning over the next 15 years in Worthing has been given the green light.
The Worthing Local Plan sets out the spatial strategy for the borough and seeks to accommodate new housing and commercial development, balanced against the need to protect and enhance the natural and local environment.
In addition, the Local Plan looks at how best communities and places can thrive by setting out sustainable objectives that are aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – protecting air quality, enhancing natural habitats and making sure that heritage is conserved.
The plan was approved at Worthing Borough Council’s Extraordinary Council Meeting on March 28th. It identifies how growth can best be accommodated by first utilising brownfield sites such as Teville Gate and Union Place, allowing some limited greenfield development whilst at the same time protecting important green gaps such as Chatsmore Farm, Goring Gap and Brooklands Park.
Government figures estimate that Worthing needs about 15,000 new homes over the next 15 years to meet the growing demand, but there are not enough brownfield or greenfield sites available to meet this need.
The Council has already rejected an application by Persimmon Homes to build 475 homes at Chatsmore Farm and successfully won its challenge at the High Court last year although the developer has since challenged that decision, while Brooklands Park has also been recently transformed to benefit residents and visitors.
Independent examination of Worthing’s housing needs
Martin Randall, the Council’s director for the economy, said: “The final version of the local plan sets out the vision on how best we can deliver housing to meet the needs of local residents, while paying particular attention to preserving the natural environment, ensuring sustainable development and helping reduce our carbon emissions.
“Building on brownfield sites and trying to preserve our green gaps which maintain the physical separation from adjoining settlements is a key priority.”
As required by law, the Local Plan was formally submitted in June 2021 to the Secretary of State who then appointed an inspector to carry out an independent examination to ensure it was legally correct.
In his report, the inspector recognised that it was not realistic for all Worthing’s housing needs to be met within its boundaries. Nevertheless the inspector was satisfied that the plan ‘has been informed by a robust and objective assessment of housing need, the process for selecting allocations was robust and the housing requirement is justified and positively prepared’.
The inspector also found that the ‘overall spatial strategy and distribution of growth is positively prepared, justified and consistent with national planning policy’.