Cherkley Court owners given right to appeal decision to quash hotel plans

29 October 2013 by
Cherkley Court owners given right to appeal decision to quash hotel plans

Developer Longshot bought the property in 2011 off an asking price of £20m with a view to turn it into a 48-bedroom luxury hotel with an exclusive private members' golf course.

Planning permission was granted by Mole Valley District Council but this was overturned when the case was brought before the High Court after a pressure group, the Cherkley Campaign, supported by the Surrey branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), won the right to pursue a judicial review against the council.

But now Mole Valley District Council has been granted permission by the Right Honourable Lord Justice Sullivan to appeal the outcome of the Judicial Review. A date for the hearing is yet to be set, reported the" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser.

Councillor John Northcott, portfolio holder for planning, said the council is pleased to have been granted permission to appeal.

"The council took the decision to apply for this permission because it believes the decision of democratically elected councillors - with a thorough understanding of the issues and the local community - was legitimate," he said. "In granting this permission, the judge took the view that ‘The grounds of appeal have a real prospect of success'.

"The appeal application also raises a number of important principles which need to be resolved through the Court of Appeal."

The Cherkley Campaign and the Surrey Branch of CPRE issued a joint statement in response to the decision: "We have been informed that Mole Valley District Council and Longshot have been granted leave to appeal against the recent decision by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave concerning the development of Cherkley Court.

"We recognise that this has become an important case for local planning authorities everywhere, and that the Court of Appeal wants to consider the issues of wider importance which it raises.

"It is, of course, to be expected that Longshot will wish to do everything they can to continue with their commercial development of Cherkley.

"However, we hope that the Court of Appeal will accept the careful consideration of the issues by Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave and endorse his conclusions as to the unlawfulness and irrationality of the planning permission."

Campaigners had questioned Surrey's need for another golf course during the hearing, given it already had 141, and said the plans would cause irreparable damage to the green belt landscape of the North Downs.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said the council's decision to grant planning permission was "variously legally flawed", "perverse" and "contrary to planning policy".

"The council majority's decision to grant planning permission for further golf facilities at Cherkley was perverse. It simply does not add up," he said.

"There was no evidence upon which the council majority could properly base a conclusion that there was a need, in the public interest sense, for further golf facilities in this part of Surrey.

"The council at best paid lip-service to the green belt policy, but did not apply it. The council majority failed to take a proper policy-compliant approach to green belt considerations."

Owners of Cherkley Court to appeal against decision to quash hotel development >>

World-class luxury hotel to be developed in Surrey >>

Longshot's Cherkley Court hotel plans quashed in High Court >>

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