Judge quashes planning consent for golf course at Cherkley Court, Surrey
Surrey countryside campaigners have won their legal challenge against the building of a luxury golf and leisure complex at historic Cherkley Court.
A High Court judge has quashed Mole Valley District Council's decision to grant permission for this development in the Surrey Hills.
Cherkley Court, the former home of Lord Beaverbrook, is on the edge of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The estate is in the Metropolitan Green Belt and is a designated Area of Great Landscape Value.
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave concluded that the approval was legally flawed, contrary to planning policy, failed to take into account material considerations, irrational and the reasons given for permission were inadequate.
The case was brought by the Cherkley Campaign, a local action group, supported by the Surrey Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). The chairman of CPRE Surrey, Tim Murphy, is also vice-chairman of Epsom & Ewell Liberal Democrats.
The judge upheld three of the five legal challenges. Tim Harrold, chairman of the Cherkley Campaign, said: "This is a great victory for our campaign and for all who care about the countryside. We are deeply grateful to all those members of the local community who rallied round and supported us in the face of an unprecedented propaganda onslaught and smear campaign by the developers."
Shaun Spiers, CPRE Chief Executive added: "CPRE's campaigners in Surrey deserve huge congratulations. The Cherkley Campaign has fought a David vs. Goliath battle. Putting an exclusive golf course on wonderful countryside would have irreversibly damaged an area of high quality wildflower meadows and farmland which can be enjoyed by everyone."
Andy Smith, CPRE Surrey Branch Director, said: "The judicial review has found that Mole Valley council made a flawed decision in allowing the Cherkley development to go ahead. We hope therefore that this is the end of the matter. The next step is for the developers to explain how they will go about repairing the appalling damage that they have already done to the landscape."
The full text of the High Court judgment can be read here.