I have written to the Secretary of State to raise immediate concerns with the Planning Inspectorate's decision regarding Goring Gap and the Chatsmore Farm development.
Below is a copy of the letter.
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Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
2 Marsham Street
02nd March 2022
Dear Secretary of State,
I write with extreme concern regarding the Planning Inspectorate’s absurd decision to overturn the rightful decision of Worthing Borough Council to refuse permission for Persimmon to concrete over the north Goring Gap.
The decision must be called in for review. It must be overruled.
This is the green separation that maintains distinction and separation of Worthing and its neighbour Arun. In habitation terms, this divides the distinct communities of Goring-by-Sea and the village of Ferring.
If West Sussex Council wants Goring Gap to be a green space, if Worthing Borough Council wants Goring Gap to be a green space, if Arun District Council wants Goring Gap to be a green space and if the entire community is united in wanting Goring Gap to be a green space, surely Goring Gap should be a protected green space.
Worthing Borough Council, last year, turned down proposals to build almost 500 new homes over the treasured Goring Gap at Chatsmore Farm. The Council argued that this area is an important part of its green gap and that development would adversely affect the setting of the South Downs National Park and add to local traffic congestion.
The national Planning Inspectorate have granted Persimmon’s appeal and granted outline planning permission to concrete over the north Goring Gap, appeal reference: APP/M3835/W/21/3281813.
I do not believe a planning inspector should be able to overturn the decision with three vague paragraphs.
If any Inspector can trample on the democratic responsibility of the planning authority in this way, what is the point of Worthing Borough Council and what is the point of the member of parliament?
I am wildly angry, to put it politely.
Politics is a team activity. This, if allowed to stand, breaks my understanding of the mutuality of public service and democracy. This destroys the fundamental link of representation and authority between communities and our councils.
I have asked successive Secretaries of State to protect the Goring Gap.
I ask you now to do what is necessary and what is right.
Let this be a small stepping stone towards the rightful protection of our green spaces and of the rightful authority of our local councils and planning teams.
Yours with great concern,
Sir Peter Bottomley
Member of Parliament for Worthing West, Goring-by-Sea, Ferring, East Preston with Kingston and Rustington.