Surrey

Decision on Cherkley Court legal challenge reserved

Cherkley Court
Image caption The court heard Surrey already had an ample supply of golf courses with 141 in the county

Judgment has been reserved at the end of a judicial review into plans to turn Lord Beaverbrook's former Surrey home into a luxury hotel and golf course.

Environmental campaigners and residents took High Court legal action to contest a decision by Mole Valley council to allow the Cherkley Court development.

Lawyers representing The Cherkley Campaign questioned whether Surrey needed another golf course.

The press baron lived in the house from 1911 until his death in 1964.

Green belt

The property was built in 1866 before being rebuilt in the French chateau style in the 1890s.

Longshot Cherkley Court Ltd, the current owners of the Grade II listed property and 375-acre estate near Leatherhead, was given permission to create a hotel including a health club, spa, cookery school and an "exclusive private" 18-hole golf course in 2012.

Opponents told the three-day court hearing the plans were highly controversial because of their impact on the green belt landscape of the North Downs, and there were already 141 golf courses in Surrey.

The council and developers said there was no legal flaw when permission was granted.

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