The MP for Worthing West has written to Boris Johnson over proposals to build 465 homes on part of the Goring Gap.
In his last action as MP before the general election, Sir Peter Bottomley penned a letter to the Prime Minister asking for ‘consideration and intervention’ should the proposals for 465 homes at Chatsmore Farm, the northern section of the Goring Gap, go any further.
Sir Peter has previously described the scheme as ‘opportunist’ and called for it to be withdrawn by developer Persimmon Homes.
The developer has said the scheme would help address ‘the acute housing shortage in the borough’.
But Worthing Borough Council has said that, despite the pressure to build new houses, the emerging Worthing Local Plan proposes to protect the land from development by designating it as a Local Green Gap.
In his letter to Mr Johnson, Sir Peter requested that the Prime Minister make it clear to the relevant ministry and department that any inspector nominated from Bristol to hear an appeal against refusal of a planning proposal ‘will be restricted to gross obvious major misjudgement’.
He said he feared that developers may take the chance of applying for planning permission, anticipating being refused because it is not in the local plan, and said they could then have a succession of appeals to Bristol.
Sir Peter said: “Your advisers at Transport can tell you what happened at Worthing’s Lyons Farm affecting the A27.
“This national road has been blocked much of the day for decades because of the mistaken decision by an inspector, overruling the Borough Council, that the road infrastructure could cope when everyone else knew it could not.
“Worthing and Arun are limited to the south by the sea and to the north by the South Downs National Park.
“Neither of their populations should be at risk of losing the green lungs between them.”
A public exhibition on the proposals was held in The Richmond Room in Stoke Abbott Road, Worthing, last month – read more here.
Robert Clark, Head of Planning for Persimmon Homes Thames Valley, said after the event: “The public consultation event staged on the 7th October was very well attended, and we would like to thank local residents and everyone who attended.
“An essential part of Persimmon Homes’ proposed Chatsmore Farm development is that we will work with local authorities to help mitigate any issues that may arise.
“This includes contributing financially to local schools and doctors surgeries, as well as looking to improve the road network surrounding the proposed development.”