Decision due on Goring Gap 475-home development
The latest plans for housing development in the fiercely protected Goring Gap are set to be decided later this week.
Persimmon wants to build up to 475 homes on the northern gap, known as Chatsmore Farm, immediately north of the railway line.
The Goring Gap Action Group has been mobilising opposition to the planning application, with 1,236 objections received from residents.
These raise concerns including the impact on the gap, increased traffic, adverse visual impact, lack of infrastructure, flooding, pollution as well as the effect on Highdown Park and the South Downs National Park.
Worthing Borough Council is due to make a decision on the outline plans on Wednesday (March 10) with officers recommending refusal.
The council has received objections from Arun District Council, Sustrans, Bluebell Way residents, CPRE Sussex, East Preston Parish Council, Ferring Parish Council, Ferring Conservation Group, Goring and Ilex Conservation Group, Goring Residents Association, Worthing Society and MP Sir Peter Bottomley.
Concerns have also been raised by the National Trust which owns and manages Highdown Hill to the north-west.
Network Rail has requested more information about the proposed new public car park near Goring Railway Station and the likely impact on Goring level crossing.
Govia Thameslink Railway has also posed questions about whether station facilities and accessibility will require upgrading.
The South Downs National Park Authority has not commented on the principle of development, but suggested any housing should be designed to minimise its visual presence and impact.
Both Highways England and West Sussex County Council have required additional information with the latter raising concerns about the applicant’s junction modelling being undertaken in isolation.
According to Worthing Borough Council’s landscape consultant the gap currently forms a ‘noticeable break’ in the development to the north of the railway line along the coastal plain.
Expansive views to the national park afforded by the existing footpath network would be reduced to ‘glimpses’ of the Downs.
They advised the council that ‘substantial adverse landscape and visual impacts would arise from the development’, adding: “Such impacts would affect the local area and the wider landscape, including the landscape setting to the national park, Highdown Hill scheduled monument and the conservation area and the sea views from the national park.
“The development would substantially close the gap between Goring by Sea and Ferring adversely affecting the separate identities of the settlements.”