Decision soon on Cherkley project

By AML

Councillors in Surrey, England, are expected to vote next week on plans to turn the historic Cherkley Court estate into an exclusive golf club.

Development firm Longshot, led by Joel Cadbury of the confectionery dynasty, bought Cherkley in 2010. The house was the home of newspaper baron and wartime Minister of Supply Max Aitken, later Lord Beaverbrook. Now, Longshot wants to convert the house, which is listed Grade II, into a hotel, and the estate into a golf course, which would be designed by David McLay Kidd.

Mole Valley councillors will decide on the planning application on Wednesday 4 April. The council’s planning officers have recommended acceptance of the hotel scheme, but rejection of the golf course.

Local opinion on the scheme is mixed, with comments on the council’s planning portal offering both support and objections. Tim Harrold, from the local branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, told the Surrey Advertiser newspaper: “It would cause such harm to this exceptional countryside and its rare chalk grassland and woodland that it is unlikely it could qualify to continue being considered for Area of Natural Beauty status. A great deal is therefore at stake. Surrey already has more than 140 golf courses. It would seem undesirable and unnecessary to destroy spectacular countryside forever, for the benefit of a wealthy few.”

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