Another Urgent Appeal!

We are still under attack by the developers. While we wait for Arun District Council’s decision on the 70 houses on Lansdowne Nursery and the 48 houses off Kingston Lane, and there is still time to object to the 133 houses opposite Sainsbury’s (A/2/23), we now have the application for 112 houses at Highdown Vineyard (F/180/22/OUT).

All this in addition to the 76 houses at Roundstone Farm and the 193 houses at Rustington Golf Centre and we still have the Court of Appeal case on Chatsmore Farm to come.

The Highdown Vineyard application is, of course, like all the others, contrary to Arun’s Local Plan and the Council must refuse it. The planning arguments are very clear and straightforward: the Gaps, agricultural land, wildlife, Highdown and the National Park, the isolation of the estate north of the very busy A259, the extra traffic on that already congested road, the lack of a safe crossing for pedestrians, the lack of school places, the demand on oversubscribed GP surgeries and other infrastructure.

Please show Arun District Councillors how much we value this Gap and how we deplore the digging up of the vineyard in order to plant a housing estate. The houses would not benefit anyone in Arun who is in housing need.  This is simply a money-making scheme.

You can see the details of the Highdown Vineyard planning application at:

Please highlight and right hand click the above link then click on the ‘Enter Comment’ tab to have your say.

You can also send your objection by email: to – using the above planning application reference number.

Ed Miller


ProGaps -Protecting our Gaps and Green spaces

We have teamed up with conservation and amenity groups and residents’ associations all along the coast from Rustington to Worthing to resist, together, all attacks on our Gaps and other green spaces by housing developers and commercial enterprises. Every planning application in these areas will be opposed, and objection e mails and letters sent, to make it clear to the Councils, and to the Inspector in any appeal, that we all value the individual character of our villages and townships that is guaranteed by the Gaps between settlements, and the landscape, recreation and wild life habitat that these Gaps give us.

We all objected to Persimmon and their 475-house estate on Chatsmore Farm, to Redrow’s 74-house estate at Roundstone Farm (refused by Arun DC but allowed on appeal) and the 193-house estate at Rustington Golf Centre (refused by Arun DC but an appeal is in progress). We have all objected to the application for 70 houses at Lansdowne Nursery and we shall certainly all object if Rego Properties go ahead with their proposals for over 100 houses on Highdown Vineyard.

This is not an anti-Council campaign. We believe Arun DC and Worthing BC have the right policies and want to protect the Gaps as much as we do. Our campaign is there to support them by showing how overwhelming is the opposition to filling our green spaces with development.

For up-to-date information on the latest threats to our Gaps and green spaces, join Ferring Conservation Group and get regular newsletters with ProGaps news.


The Planning Process

Planning Applications – who does what?

Ferring Conservation Group spends a lot of time monitoring the applications for new housing, commercial development and large extensions or rebuilding where they impinge unfairly on neighbours, the streetscape or countryside. We often ask our members to submit individual objections but we rarely explain how the system works.  Typically which Councils are involved, or what happens when there is an appeal – it is all rather complicated:

The starting point is the law:

Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), planning permission is required for any development of land.  Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) – certain local councils and other bodies – are responsible for examining applications for planning permission and deciding whether to approve or refuse them.

In our case the LPA is Arun District Council. They are required to draw up a Local Plan which must be submitted and endorsed by HM Planning Inspectorate (part of national government). The Local Plan and Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP), where there is one, must be consistent with the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Applications have to be decided as to whether they are consistent with, or a departure from, the Development Plan, unless there are material considerations that indicate otherwise.

The LPAs are obliged to consult the body responsible for Highways (in our case West Sussex County Council) for their view as to the implications of any development that affects traffic, parking or road safety.

If West Sussex County Council considers that the application would have a severe detrimental effect on the local highway network, that is usually the end of the matter and the application is refused (they rarely do this – usually they just give advice on parking and access).

The LPA must enable the Parish Council to produce a Neighbourhood Development Plan, as we have in Ferring, but this NDP must be consistent with the Local Plan (as above). Arun District Council is obliged to consult Ferring Parish Council on every planning application in the parish area. Unfortunately not all Councils give full consideration to Parish Council views.

This is very much a top-down planning system not the ‘Localism’ that we were promised a few years ago. The Government sets the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Arun DC has to produce a Local Plan that is consistent with it. Also the Parish Council has to produce a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) which is consistent with the Local Plan. The system has become even more restrictive in recent years because the Government now sets housing-site delivery requirements for each LPA and a rule that each LPA must have a five-year supply of housing land.

The other way that LPAs are weakened is that when the Council have decided to refuse an application, for good and proper reasons, the developer can appeal to the Secretary of State (HM Planning Inspectorate) against that decision. The Government then appoints a Planning Inspector to decide the appeal – and his/her decision is final – it can only be challenged in the High Court (please note that the appeal system allows only the applicant to appeal, not the objectors!).

Where do local residents come in all this?

Well, we elect the Councillors and the whole country elects the Government. We can send Arun DC our objections against the applications we consider unsuitable then the Council ‘takes them into consideration’. Ferring Conservation Group sends in many objections to the applications we feel are unsuitable – we win some and we lose some. The Council may support local objections and refuse authority to develop but then the applicant can appeal to HM Planning Inspectorate who has the final say. But the Inspector’s decision is open to Judical Review, If the High Court rules that the Inspector has made a mistake in law it can quash that decision. This is what happened in the Chatsmore Farm case.

The Council wins some and loses some, and challenges in the High Court are rare and even more rarely successful.

It is a very unsatisfactory system which fails to take into account local democracy.

Ed Miller


Houses in Gardens

We have a long-running campaign against houses being built in residents’ gardens.  Even worse, they threaten to destroy the open character of Ferring, they reduce wildlife habitat and natural drainage, and add to the number of cars in the village when congestion and parking problems have already reached record levels. ‘Backland’ development is even worse because the long narrow  driveways create additional road safety hazards – for pedestrians and other vehicles.

Our objections, and those of our Parish Council do frequently persuade Arun DC to refuse such planning applications. Unfortunately the Planning Inspectors often uphold appeals against the Council’s refusal. The most recent case is that of ‘Elm Lodge’ on the corner of Tamarisk Way and Sea Lane, an application  twice refused by Arun DC, once dismissed on appeal but finally allowed at the end of June.

Please join us in objecting to applications like these.