A row over plans to build 875 new homes on ancient woodland will continue after a council delayed its decision another month.

Hundreds of people have taken part in noisy demonstrations in recent months over the proposed development of homes on farmland in West Durrington on the outskirts of Worthing.

Plans outlined by developers would involve access from Titnore Lane, West Durrington.

But campaigners have vowed to stop hundreds of ancient trees being felled to make way for the road improvements.

Some trees would make way for a roundabout forming the main access to the new estate, which will cover 99 acres of farmland.

The rest face the chop if workmen straighten 350 metres of Titnore Lane, a winding, unlit country road.

The development control committee of Worthing Borough Council met yesterday to make its decision but this has been delayed until next month while the authority confirms the current classification of Titnore Lane.

Protester John Hughes, 62, from Durrington, said: "The Highways Agency said the road needs to be a Grade A classification in order to cope with the traffic growth.

"Titnore Lane is actually a Grade C classification.

It is windy and it dips up and down. A Grade A road should be fairly straight, join towns and have good visibility.

"The council has agreed to defer its decision, which is good because everything needs to be looked at properly and done legally. The land there is ancient woodland and this road would cause utter devastation.

"There is an archeological dig going on there at the moment. This is a national issue, we have heard from people all over the country."

To compensate for the loss of trees, the developers intend to plant 500 saplings and numerous shrubs all over the development.

Although 500m of hedgerow, including 300m classed as important, would go, 2km would be planted in its place.

The Government wants Worthing to construct 4,375 homes in the borough over the next 11 years. Of these, 1,200 are earmarked for West Durrington.

Work could begin towards the end of next year if councillors give the scheme the go-ahead.