Longshot Cherkley Court Ltd., the owners of Cherkley Court, the Grade II-listed property and 375-acre estate – Lord Beaverbrook’s former Surrey home which Winston Churchill frequently visited – had planned to create a hotel including a health club, spa, cookery school and a private 18-hole golf course which has been designed by David McLay Kidd, whose credits include Queenwood, The Castle Course at St. Andrews and Machrihanish Dunes (to name a few).
On 21st September 2012, Cherkley Court received full planning permission not only to restore the historic Beaverbrook Estate to its former glory but also to create hundreds of local jobs. After careful consideration, the Secretary of State, elected not to “call in” this consent, which he deemed to be in keeping with policy.
Earlier this year, a small group of local objectors received permission to pursue a Judicial Review against the Mole Valley District Council (MVDC). They claimed that the Council had not followed due process correctly and that the planning permission decision should be overturned.
Last week Mr Justice Haddon-Cave upheld this legal challenge and overturned the decision of the MVDC to grant planning permission to build the exclusive golf club. He added that the council had “at best paid lip service to the green belt policy but did not apply it”.
A spokesman for Longshot Cherkley Court Ltd confirmed that matters will not be allowed to rest.
“Today’s announcement has left Cherkley Court’s entire legal team as amazed as they are appalled to learn that the Judicial Review against the Council has been successful,” he said. “The unanimous opinions that they received stated that Judicial Reviews are based on examinations of the due process and that “need” is of no relevance whatsoever. As a result, Cherkley Court has been advised in the strongest possible terms to Appeal, advice which it will be following.”
Tim Hellier, Head of Planning at Berwin Leighton Paisner, added that ‘We feel entirely let down by the judicial system. Our legal team, including the country’s leading planning QC, remain of the view that the decision of MVDC to grant planning permission is robust, lawful and correct.’
Furthermore Christopher Katkowski QC stated: ‘We are very strongly of the view that the Judge has reached a flawed decision here. We are confident that the Court of Appeal would overturn the decision.’
Cherkley Court www.cherkleycourt.com
David McLay Kidd www.dmkgolfdesign.com