Court of Appeal backs Worthing Council's protection of Chatsmore Farm from development

Released: Monday, 03 July 2023

Worthing Borough Council has won its court battle to prevent a developer building hundreds of homes on Chatsmore Farm.

Persimmon Homes went to the Court of Appeal to challenge the Council's refusal to allow it to build 475 properties on the green gap between Worthing and Ferring.

But a panel of three top judges has rejected the developer's case, meaning the Council's rejection of the planning application stands.

Cllr Dr Beccy Cooper, the Leader of the Council, said:

"Our communities have been united in their desire to keep this green land as part of our coastal environment and I am absolutely delighted by the Court of Appeal's decision.

“We are very mindful of the need to balance our acute housing need, particularly for local residents currently struggling to afford homes here, with our need for green space. Both are essential for our community wellbeing and we will continue to balance these needs as we move forward with building new homes in Worthing and along our coastline.

“I would like to congratulate and thank all the local residents, politicians and outstanding Council officers who worked hard and stood together to speak up for Chatsmore Farm.

“In the middle of a climate emergency, protecting our green land is essential to ensure our children and grandchildren can thrive."

In March 2021 the Council rejected the planning application submitted by Persimmon Homes, but the housebuilder successfully challenged the decision at a planning inquiry. The planning inquiry's decision was subsequently quashed by the High Court after the Council appealed against the ruling.

Persimmon Homes then took its case to the Court of Appeal, to ask it to overturn the High Court's ruling and allow the 475 houses to be built on the 20 acres of land, which sits within the setting of South Downs National Park.

Judges Sir Keith Lindblom, Sir Geoffrey Vos and Lady Justice Andrews heard arguments from both the developer and the Council in May.

In their written judgment, which has just been published, Sir Keith said the High Court had been right to overturn the decision of the planning inquiry because the planning inspector had not explained why he thought the development would not damage the national park.

He said:

“At least, in my view, the inspector's reasons fell short of what was required in law. They leave a substantial doubt about the lawfulness of his approach to one of the principal issues he had to resolve. And that is enough to require his decision to be set aside.”

To read the full judgment of the Court of Appeal see:

Photo: Chatsmore Farm, Worthing

Chatsmore Farm, Worthing


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Page last updated: 18 April 2024

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