Councillors have criticised the Secretary of State for Local Government’s overturning of a Worthing Borough Council decision on Chatsmore Farm.
The council had decided that any planning application on Chatsmore Farm should require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
But the Secretary of State for Local Government has overturned the decision, a move which Worthing Councillors Luke Proudfoot, Lionel Harman and Steve Wills have said ‘flies in the face of localism’.
The Environmental Impact Assessment would add an extra layer of protection on the site, as its aim is to protect the environment and ensure that the Council is fully aware of the likely significant effects on the environment, according to the councillors.
Mr Proudfoot said “This decision completely goes against the Government’s principle of localism.
“We are in the middle of creating a Local Plan and this ridiculous decision will now give Persimmon the green light to put in an early application for hundreds of housing units that will have a huge detrimental impact on my residents and on the local environment.
“This land is on the edge of the South Downs National Park, separates Worthing from Ferring, and is vulnerable to flooding.
“Worthing Borough Council rightly decided that any application would need an EIA to fully assess the damage development on this site would cause.”
Mr Wills said: “The recent Local Plan Consultation showed just how much local people are against any development at Chatsmore Farm.
“We are very surprised by this decision and will stand up for local people against development on this site.”
Mr Harman added: “As ward Councillors we will be doing all that we can to prevent development of this sensitive site and will be keeping local residents informed at all stages as we await a possible application.”
It is anticipated that an application may be received early in the new year.
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