The Worthing Society has shared their joy after a decision to allow 475 houses to be built at Chatsmore Farm was overturned by the High Court.
Society Chair Susan Belton said: “This decision is a victory for both local residents and the wider community.”
Worthing Borough Council received more than 1,200 letters against developer Persimmon’s plans and rejected the application in March 2021.
However, this decision was overturned on appeal, prompting protests from local residents and legal action by the council.
After a High Court hearing, Ms Justice Lang DBE granted the Council’s request for statutory review on two of the four grounds put forward.
In essence, 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.
Stressing the importance of the site, Ms Belton said: “Chatsmore Farm is a historic, strategic gap which forms a ‘green lung’ between the settlements of Worthing and Ferring.
“It is uniquely important for the views of and from nearby South Downs National Park.
“The impact on the surrounding transportation system and local infrastructure would have been catastrophic.
“The Worthing Society has strongly supported the campaign to protect Chatsmore Farm and maintain visual convenience for residents.
“This judgment also confirms the nascent local plan, which has identified this area, which includes Class 1 farmland, as not suitable for development.
“We were appalled when the examiner allowed the developer’s objection.
“Now the verdict has found that the inspector failed to take sufficient account of both the nascent local plan, which was well advanced and widely accepted by another inspector, and the detrimental effects on the national park.”
Ms Belton thanked the 1,250 residents who had objected to the plans and hailed Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley as a “loyal” supporter.
She added: “We must also give credit to Worthing Borough Council who fought unanimously to save one of Worthing’s last rural areas.
“Our green infrastructure is part of our landscape heritage and an irreplaceable resource.
“The recent Covid-19 emergency has demonstrated the value of open green spaces for mental and physical well-being.
“This is welcome news and while the developer has the right to appeal to the Court of Appeal, this ruling remains significant.”
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