There was a round of applause from the public gallery as councillors refused an application for a nine-home development in Lancing on the border of the national park.
The proposal for the land north of Firle Road, which had been recommended for approval, was rejected by Adur District Council’s planning committee on the grounds of architectural impact, being out of character with the existing development and having an overbearing appearance.
As well as nine houses, the development would have included 34 parking spaces, a play area, an ecology corridor and pedestrian access to the South Downs.
Residents had previously raised concerns about the proposed new access road to the development, which they said would be dangerous, and the impact the homes would have on parking and on views from the Downs.
Speaking at the planning meeting on Monday night, resident Sarah Grant said the new access road would be ‘very steep’ and that her home would be in danger if a vehicle lost control on descent.
She said of the homes: “They will not merge into the Downs, they will stand out like a beacon of modernity and shatter the beautiful aspect we now enjoy.”
Manor ward councillor Carson Albury, who also spoke at the meeting, described the homes as ‘wooden square boxes’ and said: “This is a grossly unsympathetic development.”
The architect, James Breckell, told the committee the county council had confirmed there were no grounds to refuse the application from a highways perspective.
He said: “Design is subjective. This design is a thorough and comprehensive response to the context and your policy.
“We have designed this scheme responsibly.”
But councillor George Barton said the scheme was not acceptable in terms of its design, landscape or visual impact.
After the meeting, Firle Road resident Emma Whittaker said: “We are very happy that the plans have been refused.”
“A sloping driveway where vehicles have already crashed into the opposite houses is no place to put a road.
“The boxy houses would have been totally out character for North Lancing with its unique hilltop location backing onto the South Downs.
“We are thrilled with the support we have received from the councillors and will continue with our fight to protect the land from inappropriate development in the future.”