The Fight for Green Spaces: Inspector Supports Council

Ardur & Worthing Councils: Brooklands Park, Worthing

A report has revealed that efforts to protect the green spaces that border Worthing have been strengthened by the support of a government inspector.

A report has revealed that efforts to protect the green spaces that border Worthing have been strengthened by the support of a government inspector.

Two open spaces known as the Goring Gap to the west of the town and Brooklands in the east are considered as crucial to protect the integrity of the community and prevent urban sprawl.

The report submitted to the members of Worthing Borough Council's Joint Strategic Committee (JSC) says initial feedback from a Local Plan Inspector has strongly indicated he accepts the argument that the sites should remain undeveloped.

JCB members heard that although his final report is to come, the inspector made a strong inference that Local Green Gap (LGG) status should be awarded to Chatsmore Farm and the Goring-Ferring Gap.

Additionally, the inspector added that an even stronger protection Local Green Space (LGS) should be applied at Brooklands.

The timing of the inspector's intervention was also described as 'very helpful' as an appeal hearing against the Council's decision to refuse a plan by Persimmon to build 475 homes at Chatsmore was also being heard.

A decision on that appeal is expected later this year.

The Council is hoping the Local Plan inspector's indications will work in favour of continued refusal.

Leader of Worthing Borough Council, Cllr Kevin Jenkins, said: “I welcome this report and the strong indications that all our hard work to produce a robust Local Plan to both protect our vital open spaces while creating opportunities for much-needed new homes on brownfield site within our urban areas is being recognised.

“We will continue to fight tooth and nail against any attempt to fill in these much needed open spaces and we will do so armed with the tremendous amount of work and expertise that have gone into creating this Local Plan.

“I look forward to the council being in a position to formally adopt this Local Plan later in the year once the inspector's report is published so that we get vital protection for these green spaces.”

Despite the Council being under pressure to meet government-backed house building targets, the report says the inspector has indicated he wants to see proposals for 60 homes to be built at Titnore Lane to be removed from the Local Plan.

The report accepts this intervention and says the number of homes can be made up by slightly increasing density at a number of brownfield sites.

The full and final report from the inspector on the Worthing Local Plan is expected in the Spring.

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