The Supreme Court has overturned an inspector’s decision to build 475 homes on a green space.
The news of Chatsmore Farm, also known as Goring Gap, was greeted with glee by the Ferring Conservation Group, who said it was “time to dance in the streets”.
Worthing Borough Council received more than 1,200 letters against developer Persimmon’s plans and rejected the application in March 2021.
However, the decision was overturned on appeal, prompting protests from local residents and legal action by the council.
The Goring Green Gap, Adur and Worthing Councils
After a High Court hearing on 20 July, Ms Justice Lang DBE granted the Council’s request for statutory review on two of the four grounds put forward.
She said the inspector failed to take account of the guidelines in the council’s evolving local plan or give enough weight to the impact the development would have on the South Downs National Park.
Council Chair Beccy Cooper said: “I am pleased to see that the voices of the community have been heard in this appeal.
“The decision justifies our actions in pursuing this appeal.
“We remain committed to protecting our green spaces and ensuring the climate emergency is at the heart of all our decisions, while also promoting a strong supply of social housing on our brownfield sites to ensure all our Worthing residents live, work and… can live thrive in our city.”
Council Conservative leader Kevin Jenkins said: “This is great news for Worthing.
“All along we’ve been saying this is the wrong place to build houses, that Chatsmore Farm is a valuable green void that should be preserved.
“I am pleased that the decision by the former Conservative government to challenge the Planning Inspector’s decision has proved correct.
“I am now asking the Secretary of State to submit this application for a declaration.
“Local voices need to be heard and heard – this is the start of the next phase of the fight to preserve this green gap.”
Possible preparations for this fight could also be considered by Persimmon.
A spokesman said: “We are obviously disappointed with the judge’s decision.
“However, the judge’s concerns relate to the process by which the planning inspector arrived at its conclusion, and not to the conclusion itself.
“The independent planning inspector rightly highlighted Worthing’s ‘extraordinary’ housing needs and recognized that ‘the impact of unmet needs is significant and affects real people’, which was a key factor in its assessment of the problems.
“We will now reflect on this judgment and examine our options.”
A council spokesman said should the developer decide to take things further, the local authority’s ruling would give “very strong reasons to fight such a case in the future”.
Secretary of State for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities Greg Clark, whose inspector gave the green light to the plan earlier this year, will now pay the council’s legal fees.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20599647.inspectors-goring-gap-decision-quashed/?ref=rss The Inspector’s decision on Goring Gap was overturned