The Worthing Society has shared its delight after a decision to allow 475 homes to be built at Chatsmore Farm was quashed by the High Court.

Susan Belton, chair of the society, said: “This decision represents a victory for both local residents and the wider community.”

Worthing Borough Council received more than 1,200 letters opposing the plans from developer Persimmon and rejected the application in March 2021.

But that decision was overturned on appeal, prompting a protest from residents and legal action from the council.

Following a hearing at the High Court, Mrs Justice Lang DBE allowed the council’s claim for a statutory review on two of the four grounds submitted.

Essentially, she said the inspector had failed to take account of policies in the council’s emerging Local Plan or give enough weight to the impact the development would have on the South Downs National Park.

Stressing the importance of the site, Ms Belton said: “Chatsmore Farm is an historic, strategic gap providing a ‘green lung’ between the settlements of Worthing and Ferring.

“It is uniquely important to the views to and from the nearby South Downs National Park.

“The impact on the surrounding transport system and local infrastructure would have been catastrophic.

“The Worthing Society vigorously supported the campaign to protect Chatsmore Farm and safeguard the visual amenity for residents.

“This judgement also vindicates the emerging Local Plan which identified this area, which includes Grade 1 farmland, as not suitable for development.

“We were appalled when the inspector allowed the appeal by the developer.

“Now the judgement has found that the inspector failed to take sufficient account of both the emerging Local Plan , which was well advanced and broadly accepted by another inspector, as well as the harmful effect on the National Park.”

Ms Belton thanked the 1,250 residents who submitted objections to the plans and praised Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley as a ‘staunch’ supporter.

She added: “We must also give credit to Worthing Borough Council who unanimously fought to save one of Worthing’s last areas of countryside.

“Our green infrastructure is part of our landscape heritage and an irreplaceable resource.

“The recent Covid-19 emergency has shown the value of open green space to mental and physical well-being.

“This is welcome news and although the developer has the right to go to the Court of Appeal, this judgement remains significant.”