Adur & Worthing District Update November 2021

11th November 2021

CPRE Sussex has been very active in Adur & Worthing District during this year working to protect our green spaces and the environment.

Adur

New Monks Farm – the development of 600 homes, a country park and a non-food retail store has experienced some changes during 2021.

The good news is that IKEA, who were to occupy a 20 acres site next to the A27 has, for commercial reasons, pulled out of the agreement to locate there. They are looking to sell on the site to other commercial interested parties. So, we now wait to see what further developments come forward for that part of the site. Depending on what replaces IKEA, this could be better news because of the traffic issues, environmental  and landscape impacts which a mammoth IKEA would have brought to the area with an additional 2 million visitors a year.

However, an unwelcome development which has now been approved by both Adur Planning Department and the South Downs National Park, is a fourth arm to serve the Lancing College’s access to the A27. This will connect to the approved new roundabout to serve both New Monks Farm and the airport for access to the A27.

CPRE Sussex engaged heavily with comment against the proposed route which opens up a cul-de-sac at the Sussex Pad hamlet to connect with the Coombes Road.  We have concerns for loss of a substantial margin of trees, habitat, road flooding, impact on traffic and non-motorised users (NMUs) for access to the park at that point plus the impact on heritage buildings in the area.

We engaged with Lancing College to endeavour to persuade them to back a far more environmentally friendly route with no socially damaging impacts. They would not amend their position because of the intransigence of National Highways (Highways England) who insist on closing the Coombes Road junction with the A27 for safety reasons with this link road approval. We challenged that decision as spurious.

CPRE Sussex made representations to both planning authorities at their respective meetings.

This link road is due to be constructed later in 2022 as part of the construction of the new roundabout and realignment of the linked carriageways east and west of it. The initial works on the A27 Lancing section are due to commence at the end of November this year.

West Sompting Development – CPRE Sussex submitted further comment to our earlier submission on a revised layout for the first 100 homes on this site which will now see a reduced number of dwellings, down from 520 to 469.

This application was considered by the planning committee in September this year and full approval was given for the first 100 homes and outline permission for the remaining 369, a community farm, recreational playing fields an orchard and new pathway links to east Worthing.

This site is included within the Government approved Adur Local Plan 2017.

Our position was naturally one of regret at the loss of yet more green space, but we felt that the significant efforts to create substantial soft landscaping and character of buildings  which reflect the local area were commendable.

We also pushed for the construction of a NMU crossing to bridge the A27 north of the site to remove the severance which exists between North and South Sompting and the access to the National Park. The planning officer confirmed that this crossing was within the consideration of National Highway’s proposals for some future planned improvements to the Lancing/Worthing section of the A27.

Sompting Parish Neighbourhood Plan – in February 2021, we submitted substantial comments to this Neighbourhood Plan consultation. This plan was being redeveloped and provided CPRE Sussex the opportunity to provide what we feel were relevant comments to both the plan itself and the design guide which accompanies it. This guide is advice to developers to achieve sustainable, ‘beautiful buildings’ which particularly pick up the local character of the North & South Sompting conservation areas.

Adur Local Plan Update – the council policy planning team have been developing this update which is required by Government at five yearly intervals to revisit the approved plan in respect of matters of housing and regeneration.

We understand that the initial draft will come out for public consultation in the first quarter of 2022, followed by a further consultation on the resulting amendments in the second quarter. Submission for Planning Inspectorate examination is projected to be made in the third quarter.

We shall be making representations to both consultations and seeking a place at the examination table to add to our comments..

In particular, there are two sites of concern which have been identified in the council’s latest list of potential sites which are green field sites which we will be vigorously challenging.

Land East of Manor Close, North Lancing – the first is a 6 acre site which is north west of the New Monks Farm development and accessed at the end of Manor Close off the westbound A27.  Known locally as the ‘Horsey Fields’, this site was designated in the Local Plan 2017 to be enhanced for its biodiversity and also for reasons of drainage to be left as compensatory greenfield  because of  the environmental impacts of New Monks Farm development. It contains substantial woodland and is known for its foraging deer, badger and considerable birdlife.

The site has been purchased by a developer, called Pathway Developments, who have had encouraging comment from the local authority which has been confirmed by the head of planning to CPRE Sussex, despite its contravention of the council’s own plan policy for the site. Undoubtedly, it will be included in the emerging local plan and CPRE Sussex will be vigorously opposing this environmentally damaging development with its loss of green space.

Land west of Highview, Mount Way, Lancing – this is at least two acres of greenfield land on the boundary with the National Park at the top of North Lancing. Significant Woodland therein links environmentally with the Local Nature Reserve in the Park. Originally the land had the protected classification of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. That protection was lifted when the boundaries between the National Park and Adur District were defined in 2010 with formation of the National Park.

This site, if included in the emerging local plan for development, will be also contested by CPRE Sussex in the plan consultations.

 

Worthing

Chatsmore Farm – Goring Ferring Gap – this 70 acre farm which lies south of the Littlehampton Road between Goring and Ferring is designated within the Worthing Local Plan as a green gap to be preserved as countryside to protect against coalescence of the two communities of Goring and Ferring. It lies immediately south of the South Downs National Park and a protected heritage site, listed buildings in the Park and the Highdown Gardens which are also protected.

Persimmons Homes own the site and in 2020 submitted a planning application for 475 homes. CPRE Sussex worked together with the two conservation groups in Ferring & Goring to support against this contentious development. CPRE Sussex and the two groups in question all submitted strong objections to the development which invoked considerable public anger where some 1200 objections were submitted from the community and other stakeholder organisations.

The planning meeting in March considered it and unanimously refused permission to develop. However, the developer, within the last week of the permitted deadline, lodged an appeal with the Government Inspector against the refusal.

That appeal is to be examined in January 2022.   A main argument against the planning refusal is that the authority is failing to meet its targeted housing numbers which invalidates its current Local Plan policies. So, they claim the appeal should be upheld that the site should be developed.

CPRE Sussex has submitted further comment to the Planning Inspectorate giving evidence from other similar appeals which have been refused where examining inspectors, despite a housing shortfall, still gave weight to local authority policies and refused those appeals despite any shortfall in housing targets.

Worthing Local Plan Update – in June 2021, Worthing submitted its updated Local Plan for approval. The examination by the Planning Inspectorate started on the 2 November.

In its comments, CPRE Sussex supported the ‘brownfield first’ approach of the Local Plan in its comments during the public consultations held earlier in 2021. However, we did object to two potential sites which are greenfield.

East of Titnore Lane – this site sits on the east side of Titnore Lane immediately south and east of the South Downs National Park and its ancient woodlands. In the current plan the council had excluded this as a potential site for development particularly because of surface wate drainage. Now they have included it in the emerging update plan based upon a potential of 60 houses.

Upper Brighton Road – located within Worthing’s eastern boundary immediately south of the westbound A27, this site, for potentially 123 homes, will have impacts on landscape and setting views for the National Park and will create coalescence with the village of Sompting (South) only some 150 metres further east. Sompting South is within one of Adur’s conservation areas which already will be impacted by the 469 homes development which is to the east of this conservation area.

CPRE Sussex has been invited to attend the Inspector’s Plan Examination on the 11 November to give further comment on these two sites.