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
7th November 2022: The world at 8 billion people
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:
26th October 2022: Developing a balanced housing plan
“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:
4th October 2022: Have your say on Decoy Farm
“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
9th August 2022: Chatsmore Farm - High Court Challenge
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
Page last updated: 25 November 2022