Surrey countryside campaigners have won their legal action against Mole Valley District Council over the decision to permit the building of a luxury golf and leisure complex at historic Cherkley Court near Leatherhead.
In the High Court today (August 22) Mr Justice Haddon-Cave quashed Mole Valley's decision to grant permission for the development at Leatherhead Downs. 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).
Tim Harrold, Chairman of the Cherkley Campaign, said: ‘This is a great victory for our campaign and for all who care about the countryside. Today's judgment shows that we were entirely justified in pursuing this legal action and 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.’
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 of Leatherhead Downs.’
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.
Shaun Spiers, CPRE Chief Executive added: ‘CPRE’s campaigners in Surrey, and others in the Cherkley Campaign, deserve huge congratulations. They have fought a David vs. Goliath battle. Putting an exclusive golf course on wonderful countryside on the edge of London would have irreversibly suburbanised and damaged an area of high quality wildflower meadows and farmland which can be enjoyed by everyone.’