The leader of Worthing Borough Council today pledged to continue the fight to stop 475 homes being built on the Goring Gap.
The Council is pressing ahead with a High Court case that seeks a judicial review of the decision by a planning appeal inspector to allow developer Persimmon to build at Chatsmore Farm.
The Council has maintained its position that green space and agricultural land between Goring and Ferring must be protected. This is to preserve the boundary of the borough, send a clear signal that only development that meets its sustainability standards will be supported and give residents much needed open space for recreation and wellbeing.
Today Council Leader Cllr Dr Beccy Cooper said she was determined to do all she could to have the decision overturned. A Judicial Review at the High Court takes place next month. If the Council is successful it could still lead to another costly appeal by Persimmon.
Cllr Cooper said:
“We have considered the costs of defending our green gap and have concluded that it is essential to stand firm on this. It is vital that we preserve green spaces for the health and wellbeing of our communities, both now and in the future, and we need to be very clear that any new development has to follow the highest sustainable principles.
“We need new homes, particularly social housing for those residents who are currently costed out of both rental and buying options. It is possible to provide additional housing outside of our green spaces that aligns with our need to promote sustainable projects that do not put an intolerable strain on our infrastructure, nor add to the carbon emissions that have created a climate emergency in the first place.
“This Council is not against economic development nor the building of new homes but the message needs to go out loud and clear that this can only be done in ways that are sustainable. That will be the hallmark of this administration and this High Court case is a clear indication of this.”
The Council had already rejected a planning application by Persimmon for permission for the 475 homes on land to the north west of Goring railway station. It maintained the area was an important green gap and that development would adversely affect the setting of the South Downs National Park and add to traffic congestion.
Under the Council's Local Plan, which is a blueprint for future development and is close to being adopted, the Goring Gap is protected. This was recognised as the right thing to do by a government-appointed planning inspector appointed to examine the document. But to the surprise of the Council a different inspector overturned the Council's decision to turn down Chatsmore on appeal and said the homes could be built.
The High Court case takes place on 20th and 21st July 2022.