Justices of the Court of Appeal have overturned last year’s decision by a High Court judge to quash the planning consent granted to the proposed Cherkley Court golf and hotel development.
The Cherkley Court property was formerly the home of newspaper magnate and WWII-era government minister Lord Beaverbrook. Development firm Longshot Cherkley Court, led by investor Joel Cadbury, has been seeking to build a course on the estate, as well as converting the house into a five star hotel, for some time. The course, which is to be built by DMK Design, would sit on the chalk down, on a site that is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Like nearby Queenwood, the proposed course would be available for member and guest play only, with a joining fee understood to be in the region of £150,000. GCA further understands that several million pounds worth of memberships have already been sold.
Campaigners against the development brought a judicial review in 2013, which resulted in Mr Justice Haddon-Cave quashing the local council’s decision to grant planning permission. Developer Longshot and Mole Valley District Council appealed to the Court of Appeal, which today reinstated the permission. All three Appeal Court judges concurred with the verdict.
LCC director Ian Todd said: “From our point of view the Court of Appeal judgement and the overwhelming support from the local community have only strengthened our resolve to deliver a project of which Mole Valley residents can be justifiably proud.”
But this may not be the end of the story. Campaigners have vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court. Andy Smith of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “This is an appalling judgment by the Court of Appeal, which, if it is allowed to stand, will set a dangerous precedent for local planning. The Supreme Court must rule on this case as it is of national significance.”