Jennifer Ryan Senior Planning Officer
Jennifer is a Senior Planning Officer at Adur & Worthing Councils. She's been with the Planning Policy team since 2017 and works on a range of projects including preparation of the Worthing Local Plan which, when adopted, will guide future development in the borough.
Jennifer is excited to be blogging about her work and is keen to talk about how it links up with wider projects taking place within the Councils.
Before she joined the Planning Policy team, Jennifer worked in Planning Policy at Test Valley Borough Council for six years. Prior to that, she was a Teacher Associate at Oxford Brookes University.
Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys travelling and has a passion for architecture and design - London and Liverpool are her favourite cities. She also loves seeking inspiration from Instagram for her travels, particularly keeping an eye out for trendy cafes and restaurants to visit.
You can read Jennifer's current blog posts on this page below:
See also: Planning Policy
I was astounded to read in an article that the United Nations predicts population growth will reach 8 billion for the first time on 15th November 2022, which is just eight days away. It is quite a momentous occasion and clearly heralds advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates.
However, the rise in population growth is moving at pace with projections forecasting that 9.7 billion will be reached in 28 years (2050) compared to 4 billion people in the world in 1974.
Data is now emerging from Census 2021 which indicates that the populations of Adur and Worthing have grown in size since the last Census in 2011. Between 2011 and 2021, the population of Adur increased by more than 5% to 64,500. In Worthing, the population increased by 6.5% to 111,400, giving us a total of nearly 176,000 residents across Adur and Worthing.
These population increases, particularly in Worthing, are similar to the increases we have seen in England and Wales as a whole in the last ten years, at 6.3%, and slightly lower than the South East, which has grown by 7.5% in the last decade.
There are advantages and disadvantages of a growing population. More people in an area bring life, boost the local economy and can bring new skills and expertise. The fact that more people are moving to our area is also a sign of their popularity and appeal. However, an increased population brings increased demands on resources and infrastructure, such as housing, health, transport and the environment especially with regard to climate change.
These demands need to be addressed through the preparation of Local Plans which is why it is a legal requirement for adopted Local Plans to be reviewed every five years to ensure that they are still fit for purpose/respond to changes in evidence.
The Local Plan plays a key role in facilitating opportunities to help address the needs of the growing population that can be met through the provision of housing, employment, open space and leisure facilities and ensuring the delivery of associated infrastructure, whilst retaining the important character and features of Adur and Worthing which our residents, businesses and visitors all value.
The Worthing Local Plan is progressing towards adoption with Members of the Joint Strategic Sub-Committee (on 8th November 2022) considering a report relating to the Local Plan Inspector's findings. The report will recommend that Full Council (on 13th December 2022) adopt the Worthing Local Plan (including modifications) and Policies Map.
With regard to the Adur Local Plan (which was adopted in 2017), the Planning Policy team has commenced a review of the Plan.
For further information about the Census 2021 for Adur & Worthing, see:
“It is very positive that the Inspector has also given strong endorsement for the Council's spatial strategy...”
Hi, I'm Jennifer, a Senior Planning Officer at Adur & Worthing Councils. This week my blog looks at the latest on the Worthing Plan.
Wow, last week was such a big week for the Worthing Planning Policy team!
We had been eagerly awaiting the receipt of the Inspector's Report having examined the Submission Draft Worthing Local Plan. Blog readers may recall that we carried out a modification consultation back in the spring and it has been a waiting game since then.
The wait has certainly kept us on tenterhooks, so it was with great relief to receive the Inspector's Report, which concludes that, subject to the inclusion of a number of modifications listed in the report, the Submission Draft Worthing Local is sound and legally compliant and provides an appropriate basis for planning in the borough.
It is not unusual for many of the main modifications to be recommended by an Inspector at this stage of the process. The Inspector sets out a clear endorsement of the Council's approach taken towards balancing housing & development needs with other environmental objectives.
There is no evidence to suggest that the Council has failed to understand the importance of housing delivery or the need to maximise capacity and delivery. A local plan must find a balance between providing land for housing and other uses.
A local plan must also strive to meet the NPPF's (National Planning Policy Framework) objectives in relation to the quality of the built environment, the recognition of the intrinsic beauty of the countryside, protection of the natural environment and ensuring the residents of the Borough live in well-designed, beautiful and safe places with accessible services and open spaces. Housing delivery is important, but it is not the be-all and end-all of a Plan's role.
It is very positive that the Inspector has also given strong endorsement for the Council's spatial strategy and the protection of valued and sensitive sites around the town which includes land at Chatsmore Farm.
However, despite this and also the fact that the Council won the High Court challenge (see my blog dated 9th August below) Persimmon Homes has now been given permission to challenge the High Court decision in the Court of Appeal.
With regard to the receipt of the Inspector's Report of the Worthing Local Plan, this represents a very significant milestone and a major achievement for the Planning Policy team.
Next steps involve Members of the Joint Strategic Sub-Committee (on 8th November 2022) considering a report relating to the Inspector's findings. The report will recommend that Full Council (on 13th December 2022) adopt the Worthing Local Plan (including modifications) and Policies Map.
Blog readers can read the Inspector's Report:
“The unveiled proposals comprise the introduction of units for a range of flexible employment uses.”
Hi, I'm Jennifer, a Senior Planning Officer at Adur & Worthing Councils. This week my blog looks at the proposed development of Decoy Farm in which the public are being asked their views.
Decoy Farm, which is located on the eastern edge of Worthing, was historically used for the deposition of general household waste between 1970 and 1979 and is largely underdeveloped and comprises low-quality and overgrown wasteland.
There are very few opportunities for development in Worthing Borough due to limited available sites and therefore it is important that appropriate sites are unlocked to bring forward opportunities to meet future needs/demands of the town. Given its location and the fact it has been vacant for some time, Decoy Farm has been identified as being strategically important for boosting employment opportunities and economic performance in West Sussex.
Worthing Borough Council identified its long-term aspirations to redevelop Decoy Farm in its Core Strategy (under Policy Area of Change 12) which was adopted in 2011. The Policy sets out development principles that include opportunities on the site for mixed employment use that could include a range of industrial units or open storage.
In order to address contamination issues associated with its former landfill use, the site has undergone remediation with the works being completed in March 2021. In addition, the Council has now prepared a new Local Plan for Worthing (currently being examined by a Planning Inspector) which allocates the site under Policy A5 which seeks to provide a minimum of 14,000 sqm of employment land.
Given that these steps have been undertaken by the Council, specialist consultants WSP, on behalf of Worthing Borough Council, have been instructed to progress a development scheme to inform the submission of a planning application. Proposals have been published for consultation with the public invited to submit comments to help shape the final scheme proposed.
The unveiled proposals comprise the introduction of units for a range of flexible employment uses. It is anticipated that the maximum floor space that could be delivered is approximately 16,000 sqm. A new access road, landscaping and associated works are also included in the proposals. The proposed development also has the potential to improve the working environment and facilities for existing businesses in the adjacent business park and could attract new commercial tenants to the area. Proposals seek to balance the needs of new employment uses alongside the protection (and where possible, the enhancement) of services of existing users / residents.
For further information about the development proposals and how to have you say, please see:
Please note that feedback must be received by Friday, 7th October 2022.
Following the close of consultation, WSP will firm up final design proposals and submit a planning application to the Council. There will be a further opportunity to provide your views when the planning application is submitted using the Adur & Worthing Planning Public Access system, which can be found on the Councils' website.
Images: Artist's impressions of the Decoy Farm site
Aerial photo showing the location of the Decoy Farm site
Last Monday, the Planning Policy team received news that Worthing Borough Council successfully won its High Court challenge against plans to build 475 homes at Chatsmore Farm. This is a landmark legal decision where Mrs Justice Lang set out in her judgement to quash a decision made by a Planning Inspector at a Public Inquiry to allow development at Chatsmore Farm.
Mrs Justice Lang ruled that the Inspector had not given enough weight to the impact such a large development would have on the setting of the South Downs National Park and the view within. She cited legal precedent that “great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty” and ruled that this had not happened in this case.
The barrister for the claimant (Worthing Borough Council) argued at the Royal Courts of Justice that the decision of the Inspector had overridden its emerging Worthing Local Plan which had been developed democratically with the people of Worthing and was committed to preserving highly valued green spaces and the integrity of the borough as a whole.
The judge did not question the Worthing Local Plan's designation of Chatsmore Farm as a Green Gap and ruled that the Planning Inquiry Inspector did not give adequate consideration to its policies to protect open spaces.
The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whose Inspector gave the development proposal the go-ahead earlier this year, will now pay the Council's legal costs.
The High Court challenge process has resulted in many months of committed work carried out by the Council's planning and legal teams along with collaborating with the Council's barrister. In addition, local community groups have been instrumental in supporting the protection of the green space/gap. Receiving this judgement reinforces the primacy and importance of Local Plans within the planning system.
It's not very often that a Local Planning Authority submits a High Court Challenge and therefore this is a relatively rare procedure. The chances of a High Court Judge overturning a decision being made by a Planning Inspector is relatively low, therefore to achieve this outcome is very significant. This process has been a unique experience for the planning team and it has been a learning curve to see how planning judgements are made at the High Court.
Whilst this is a monumental win for Worthing Borough Council, Persimmon Homes do have options to appeal this judgement and could go to the Appeal Court or ask for another public inquiry. However, the Council believes that the landmark judgement gives it very strong grounds to fight any such case in the future.
Photo: Chatsmore Farm
The iconic Shoreham Cement Works, designed by Oscar Faber, is the subject of public consultation. The site is one of the largest brownfield sites in the south of England and forms a prominent location in the South Downs National Park.
The National Park Authority has prepared an Issues and Options Area Action Plan (APP) exploring options for the future redevelopment of the former cement works. Any development at this exemplar site would need to be designed in a manner to conserve and enhance the landscape and scenic beauty of the South Downs National Park, as well as conserving the cultural industrial heritage of Shoreham Cement Works
The AAP is a “mini local plan” for the site. The final adopted version will have specific planning policies to guide the development of this site and help to deliver an exemplar mixed use development. The AAP will sit alongside the South Downs Local Plan (2019) and will build upon Strategic Site Policy SD56: Shoreham Cement Works.
The Issues and Options consultation document considers a number of potential development scenarios. All the development scenarios are for a mixture of different land uses, which will all vary in viability and impact on the landscape. The headlines for the four scenarios are as follows:
- Mixed use scheme with employment and 400 new homes
- Mixed use scheme with employment and 240 new homes
- Mixed use leisure led scheme and 200 new homes
- Mixed use scheme with employment and 84 new homes (dismissed appeal scheme)
There are many aspects to consider ranging from sustainability, design, heritage, transport, leisure, housing and viability.
Comments submitted at this stage will help to shape the nature of development proposals/policies. The next statutory consultation stage, which is known as Regulation 19, takes the format of the 'final draft' AAP (prior to formal submission for examination by a Planning Inspector) and only allows for comments to be made within a specific remit. The remit for public consultation relates to the ‘Tests of Soundness’ and also includes legal compliance, as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.
For further information about the consultation and to view drone footage of the site, head over to the South Downs National Park consultation webpage:
Comments need to be made by 11.59pm on Tuesday 2nd August 2022
Photo: Shoreham Cement Works (credit, courtesy & copyright South Downs National Park Authority)
“You wouldn't think that there is an abundance of green spaces in London but they are hidden away ...”
London Square Open Gardens Weekend is a diverse collection of green spaces from the historic and traditional to the new and experimental that open up their gates to the public for one weekend a year.
The event is organised by London Gardens Trust and sponsored by London Square Developments. The Trust is a small charity with a big mission to celebrate and champion the city's historic parks, gardens, squares and green spaces for the benefit of everyone. They give us places to relax, exercise and get together with friends and family, provide a haven for wildlife and play a vital role for health and wellbeing.
You wouldn't think that there is an abundance of green spaces in London but they are hidden away, on the rooftops of offices along the banks of the River Thames, nestled in between estates, tucked away amongst the inns, courts and churchyards to name but a few.
It is always very exciting volunteering at this event, especially to find out which gem of a garden my friend and I have been allocated to volunteer at. Due to Covid, the annual event has not been held since 2019, so it was really thrilling to return to the volunteering fold and be part of the atmosphere once again. We were allocated to volunteer at St James's Gardens (W11), taking pride of place amongst the Norland Estate in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
According to the London Gardens Trust inventory of St James's Gardens, speculative developer Charles Richardson built the houses around St James's Gardens and established the green area in the late 1840s for the residents of what was then called St James's Square, part of the Norland Estate.
He donated the site for St James's Church to the Church Commissioners as the houses would be more saleable if they had access to their own church. The historic church was designed by architect Lewis Vulliamy and built between 1844 and 1855.
The private communal gardens are laid out in an informal woodland style. Chestnut and lime trees, dating back to the 19th Century, dominate the garden.
The London Gardens Trust is proactively involved in planning and conservation matters across the London Boroughs and responds to planning applications and Local Plan consultations that affect historic parks and gardens. The London Gardens Trust is the County Gardens Trust for Greater London, affiliated to The Gardens Trust. The Gardens Trust is a statutory consultee, which means that local authorities are legally obliged to consult before deciding on applications and policies which affect historic parks and gardens.
Photo: Jennifer sitting in St James's Gardens
Wow, what an amazing four days it has been! I am a huge fan of the Royal Family and I loved seeing London in its splendour and coming to life in a hue of red, white and blue.
I set my alarm clock for a very early start on Thursday morning and I was lined up in place at The Mall by 7:30am ready to watch Trooping the Colour. It was a thrilling atmosphere with crowds getting into jovial spirit, seeing fancy and innovative Union Jack costumes and being part of a Royal event in history.
It was incredible to watch the pomp and pageantry of the soldiers and horses marching in procession along The Mall while listening to the fanfare giving me goosebumps. My favourite moment was watching Seamus the Irish Wolfhound Dog (official regimental mascot of the Irish Guards) calmly leading the processional march. It is fair to say that he definitely stole the show and it was certainly a day to remember!
In keeping with the Platinum Jubilee theme I thought it would be opportune to blog about the connections between the Royal Family and the Planning System. Blog readers may have heard that a new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill has entered Parliament. This Bill was introduced in the Queen's Speech read by HRH Prince of Wales on the 10th May 2022:
“A Bill will be brought forward to drive local growth, empowering local leaders to regenerate their areas, and ensuring everyone can share in the United Kingdom's success. The planning system will be reformed to give residents more involvement in local development.”
This Bill, when it gets passed and receives Royal Assent, will result in some fundamental changes to the Planning System as we currently know it. I will detail the provisions contained in the Bill in a future blog.
HRH Prince of Wales takes a keen interest in architecture and the design of places and has laid out his vision (in his book 'A Vision of Britain') for the future of architecture and planning by outlining ten principles for urban masterplanning as follows:
- Developments must respect the land
- Architecture is a language
- Scale is also key
- Harmony: neighbouring buildings 'in tune' but not uniform
- The creation of well-designed enclosures
- Materials also matter: local wood beats imported aluminium
- Limit signage
- Put the pedestrian at the centre of the design process
- Space is at a premium - but no high-rises
- Build flexibility in
Furthermore, HRH Prince of Wales played an influential role in the design of Poundbury, an urban extension to the Dorset county town of Dorchester, which was designed according to the above principles. Poundbury, built on Duchy of Cornwall land, is currently home to some 4,200 people in a mix of private and affordable housing, as well as providing employment for 2,300 people working in more than 207 shops, cafés, offices and factories. A further 550 people are employed in construction across the site and many more are self-employed and at times work from home.
Poundbury has been designed to create a sustainable community which achieves an attractive, modern and pleasing place in which people can live, work, shop and play. Particular emphasis has been placed on the quality of place making through time honoured principles, urban design, landscaping and the selection of materials.
“When I set out on this venture, I was determined that Poundbury would break the mould of conventional housing development in this country, and create an attractive place for people to live, work and play. Many people said that it could never succeed but I am happy to say that the sceptics were wrong and it is now a thriving urban settlement alongside Dorchester.”
HRH The Prince of Wales
For further information about the development of Poundbury visit the:
Page last updated: 25 November 2022