Adur Local Plan:
The West Sompting Development
The Sompting Estate is mostly within Adur District, with a small amount of land in Worthing Borough. The Adur Local Plan allocated some land on Sompting Estate's Church Farm, under the name "West Sompting", for "a minimum of 480 houses".
As a result, Church Farm Sompting will lose about 40 acres of arable farmland and about 10 acres of grass. From the farm's point of view, neither of these are especially productive, and in both cases there is potential for the wildlife habitat value to be increased by the introduction of gardens and landscaping. The revenue from sale of part of Church Farm's land will however finance this farm, which was struggling to make ends meet through commodity arable farming, to convert to a more environmentally friendly, regenerative farming system, and to producing more diverse crops for the local market.
The Estate has also been working within the community to develop ideas for community benefits which we can undertake with funding from this development. These include a Community Farm in partnership with Sustainable Sussex; a Nature Trail going into the north end of the Cokeham Brooks Site of Nature Conservation Importance; and a community orchard. Our EPIC riverside walk project which will also be completed and opened in advance of the development. We will make the EPIC footpath and potentially other routes available for walking and cycling to reduce car use and improve health and wellbeing. The wider community will also benefit from large financial contributions, agreed in the "Section 106" process, to local bus services and cycling facilities, roads and education services, also 30% affordable homes..
In a Worthing Herald article on 28.2.2019, Sompting Estate trustee Mike Tristram said:
“Since Adur allocated this part of our land to meet housing need, we have been working with Persimmon, ecologists and the community to develop ideas towards making ‘net environmental gain’ a reality for Sompting’s landscape and wildlife.
“We are developing plans to diversify local food production alongside enhanced wildlife habitats in the surrounding fields. There will be new opportunities for local people to access, understand and enjoy the countryside. Safe options for walking and cycling will be important to reduce car use and improve health and wellbeing. We will also use this development as an opportunity to put the Sompting Estate, and our contribution to the local economy as well as the environment, on a more sustainable footing for the future. We will be working with the parish council to consult on some of these ideas around the forthcoming Sompting Neighbourhood Plan consultation.”
A public consultation on the planning application, AWDM/0323/19, was held on 10th October 2019, attended by over 200 local residents, after the nearest 1000 houses had had leaflets delivered. More than one supplementary consultation will have gathered further feedback on revisions to the scheme. It has been a long process but the design for landscaping layout and for the houses have been much improved in response to comments.
If you like the improvements, and what this will enable the Estate to do for the community, and what the development will do to improve local affordable housing availability (including some for rent) and employment recovery post-Covid, then, please do write in to the Adur Planning Department to say so.
Read about the Adur Local Plan's West Sompting proposals in the news:
The Planning Application is AWDM/0323/19 and its description is:
(1) Outline planning permission (all matters reserved with the exception of access) for the erection of up to and including 520 dwellings, community orchard/growing space, non-vehicular links between the site and Worthing, traffic calming measures, associated landscaping, open space / recreation areas, provision of formal playing pitches, ecological enhancements including improvements and extension to Cokeham Brooks Local Wildlife Site, and all other associated development works.
(2) Full planning permission for 100 dwellings (part of the overall 520 dwellings comprising 9 no 1-bed, 44 no. 2-bed, 37 no. 3-bed and 10 no 4-bed homes, including 30% affordable housing) and all other associated development works (Phase1).
(3) Change of use of land south of Hamble Recreation Ground to community/education and agricultural/horticultural uses associated with a new Community Farm. (Development site includes Land West of Dankton Lane Leading from the East of Upper Brighton Road Sompting)
This is the draft masterplan as at October 2020:
Sompting Estate Press Release Oct 2017: ‘Bright future for Sompting’ to be funded by new homes
“A community farm, nature trail and community orchard, along with more accessible green space and playing fields, will be the beginning of a bright new future for Sompting village,” says Sompting Estate Trustee Mike Tristram. “Sompting’s community will be bigger, but it will be better connected to the countryside.”
These new access opportunities close to the houses, funded by the development in Adur’s Local Plan, will complement the planned public footpath down to a new stream made by the ‘EPIC’ project. But the benefits the new homes could bring for Sompting go even further than the Local Plan.
“The Trustees accept that more homes are needed, so some farmland has to go”, says Mike. “The exciting thing for us is the opportunity we will have to invest in the parish, in ways that will create jobs and bring pride and pleasure to Sompting.
“This will help us to invest in a vineyard, a holidays business, and a local produce shop and café in the Sompting downs. Nearer the village we plan to bring back more mixed farming including conservation cattle grazing and vegetable growing, and to plant more hedges and trees. These changes will be good for wildlife and landscape, and good for people.”
A surprise many residents had not expected to find in the October 2017 consultation, was the unique community facilities proposal displayed by Sustainable Sussex. “Wonderful!” was one councillor’s response. “Sustainable Sussex’s partnership with the 250-year-old Sompting Estate makes this an exciting project for Sompting’s future,” said Mike Tristram. “They are passionate about connecting people with each other and helping them connect sustainably with nature. That’s what it takes to make a real success of imaginative facilities like a community farm, nature trail and orchard.”
Keith Colin of Sustainable Sussex said: “The facilities we hope to create with this funding will be there for everyone in Sompting. People who want to volunteer with us, people who need to learn skills and grow in confidence, young and old, people who want to learn about and enjoy their natural environment more. We have learned with our Sussex Chilli Farm how much good it can do people to get involved with the land, with horticultural growing, with nature, in groups with all kinds of abilities and experience. We are looking forward to doing this on a larger scale, and welcoming people in to the community farm and orchard.”
“Contact with nature is so important for personal well-being,” agreed Keith’s partner, Liane Webb of Sustainable Sussex and The Sustainable Mind. “The Nature Trail, with a boardwalk and pond-dipping area, will be like Sompting’s own Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. And the community farm will allow people contact with animals.”