Planning Inspectorate backs ban on homes at Chatsmore Farm - but Council fight goes on

Released: Friday, 21 October 2022

Chatsmore Farm should be protected from development as a local green gap, the government agency responsible for planning nationally has confirmed.

The Planning Inspectorate has backed Worthing Borough Council's Local Plan, which is drawn up with the community and sets out what and where development can happen in the town, as “sound”.

Persimmon Homes wants to build 475 homes at Chatsmore Farm and successfully won its challenge at a planning inquiry against the council's refusal to grant permission for the development. The planning inquiry's decision was subsequently quashed by the High Court after the Council appealed against the ruling.

Now, in its review of the local plan, the Planning Inspectorate has rejected the argument put forward by the house-builder that the site is not a green gap but a mere “indentation” in otherwise continuous development.

Instead it says it is clear that Chatsmore Farm is “demonstrably special” and that “the local community benefits from the access it provides to the open countryside, the value to the character of the area by providing welcome physical relief from a fairly dense built-up area”.

This follows judge Mrs Justice Lang declaring at the High Court that “great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty”.

However despite this, Persimmon Homes has now been given permission to challenge the High Court decision in the Court of Appeal.

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

“I'm really pleased that the Planning Inspectorate agrees with us that Chatsmore Farm should be protected as a precious resource for the community to enjoy.

“But at the same time I am so disappointed that Persimmon continues to push ahead with plans that no one in Worthing wants.

“We will not give up in the fight to prevent the Goring Gap being concreted over, and I would urge Persimmon to say ‘enough is enough' and to walk away from this development.

“We are happy to work with developers who want to provide good quality, affordable homes in the right places in Worthing, but this is not the right place.”

Worthing's Local Plan balances the benefits of growth against the potential impact of future development and the need to protect the environment.

In its report on the plan, the Planning Inspectorate says there is “no evidence to suggest that the Council had failed to understand the importance of housing delivery or the need to maximise capacity or delivery”.

It adds that “housing delivery is important, but it is not the be-all and end-all” of the Local Plan's role.

Photo: Chatsmore Farm in Goring, Worthing

PR22-010+016+068+139+203 - Chatsmore Farm

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Page last updated: 29 November 2022

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