Cherkley Campaign was set up to defend Leatherhead Downs and a valuable chalk grassland habitat from the construction of a golf course and Cherkley Court, the former home of Lord Beaverbrook, from commercial development.  Cherkley Campaign represents local residents who wanted to ensure that the Mole Valley District Council would determine this application in accordance with the policies contained in the Local Plan, which was put in place to protect the Green Belt and Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding National Beauty from harmful and inappropriate development. The proposal was referred to Secretary of State Eric Pickles (National Planning Casework Unit) for their consideration on whether to to call-in this application for his determination.

The Secretary of State has directed that Mole Valley cannot grant permission on the application without specific authorisation. The Department of Communities and Local Government needs more time to consider the Cherkley Court Proposal.                                    

Ref:  Cherkley Court MO/2011/1450/51

Att: John Oakes, Senior Planning Manager National Planning Casework Unit

5 St Philips Place  Colmore Row   Birmingham       B3 2PW     Phone - 0303 444 8050   




Mole Valley District Council  Officers' Report for 4th April

Development Control Committee Meeting

Letters of Objection

224 objecting (168 within Mole Valley)

195 supporting (80 within Mole Valley)

Addendum for Development Control Committee meeting 4 April 2012, which came out a week later :

8 additional letters of support and a further 139 standard pro-formas prepared by Cratus (the applicants PR company) have been returned expressing support for the scheme. 

13 additional letters of objection

One from Tyrrell's Wood Residents' Association confirming 25 residents are against and 4 in favour.

Letter from Keith Taylor, Green MEP written on behalf of his constituents that have approached him with concerns.

Development Control Committee Addendum for 2nd May Meeting

25 letters of objection received since last committee meeting including letters from Surrey Botanical Society, Leatherhead Residents’ Association, The Surrey Wildlife Trust, The Campaign to Protect Rural England, The National Trust, Butterfly Conservation and a number of private individuals.

The National Trust:

The proposal is contrary to NPPF and does not constitute sustainable development as defined in the National Planning Policy Framework.

The NPPF confirms that a valued landscape should be protected for its own sake. Para 12 states that development proposals in conflict with an up-to-date local plan should be refused.

The proposals clearly conflict fundamentally with the Core Strategy.

The Trust states that should the Council be minded to approve the application the National Trust ‘intends to urge the Secretary of State to call-in the application for consideration at a public inquiry.

Peter Edwards (Longshot’s agent) said on BBC Radio that the Cherkley Estate was not in the AONB. The southern part of the Estate is very definitely within the AONB and the rest is in the Area of Great Landscape Value which abuts the AONB and has been described by independent consultants, Chris Burnett Associates as sharing identical landscape characteristics with the AONB.

Moreover the Surrey Hills Board held their meeting with Natural England at Cherkley in order to illustrate why the AONB boundary should be extended to incorporate the AGLV land at Cherkley and other parts of Surrey.

This photograph is of the Chalk Grassland Field which is partly included within the AONB.  

On 2nd May 2012 ten councillors out of nineteen chose to ignore the planning policy and voted against Councillor Preedy’s motion to refuse planning permission for Cherkley Court to be turned into a destination luxury Hotel with Spa plus an ultra exclusive Golf Club (limited to 400 members who can afford to put up £100,000 - £200,000 to join the scheme) to be constructed on  Leatherhead Downs.


There are aspects of this application that have left many people feeling uneasy, not least of which is the susceptibility of local councillors. Have they been Razzle Dazzled by a slick public relations campaign (run by Kingston ex-councillor Nick Kilby)  Is this why they have ignored the views of local objectors and the planning policy?

Councillor Rosemary Dickson is related by marriage to Joel Cadbury (Chairman of Longshot Ltd and Director of Longshot Cherkley Court Ltd) - she declared her interest in Longshot’s planning application as personal not prejudicial at the beginning of the meeting.

On 4th April it was Councillor Rosemary Dickson who proposed the motion that the Development Control Committee should reject the recommendations of the Officers’ Report. That evening the motion was carried by just one vote (9/8). The planners had recommended that Longshot’s application be refused as it represents a departure from Mole Valley’s Local Plan.

On 2nd May Joel Cadbury addressed the meeting of the Development Control Committee. 

Cllr. Dickson continued to sit on the committee but was much less vocal than she had been on 4th April.    The Standards (Assessment) Sub-committee met on 30th April 2012 and decided that a review would be undertaken by a Standards (Review) Sub-committee into the conduct of Cllr. Rosemary Dickson in relation to the Cherkley Court application.

The motion to refuse this planning application was lost by one vote again and the next motion was to grant planning permission subject to conditions.

Joel Cadbury is also the Chairman of the Royal Parks Foundation.

Rather surprisingly this charity - whose mission concerns the Royal Parks in London rather than golf courses in Surrey - wrote a letter to Mole Valley giving its full support for Longshot’s development. But then its chief executive withdrew the letter from the MVDC website on 3rd April 2012.  However, Joel Cadbury was proud to proclaim his ecological credentials as Chairman of the Royal Parks Foundation to the planning committee on 2nd May.

Do Cadbury’s co-trustees (including Zac Goldsmith MP and Trudie Styler) know the Foundation supported a commercial development in the Green Belt?

Cherkley Campaign believes that this development in the Surrey Hills and Green Belt will set a dangerous precedent. This is speculative development not sustainable development. This is about profit for Longshot - it is not in the public interest to stand back and allow such a frivolous project destroy our countryside, make a mockery of our Local Plan, landscape designations and attempts to halt the loss of biodiversity.



Consultees and Objectors included:

  1. -The National Trust (Polesden Lacey SE Office) 

  2. -The CPRE Surrey, CPRE Kent, Mole Valley CPRE and Guildford CPRE.

  3. -Leatherhead Residents’ Association

  4. -Tyrrells Wood Residents’ Association

  5. -Chairman of the Surrey Hills Board Councillor Michael Sydney

  6. -Surrey Hills AONB Management Board.

  7. -Natural England (see letter in full)

  8. -Surrey Wildlife Trust

  9. -The Environment Agency

  10. -Mickleham Parish Council

  11. -County Ecologist and Biodiversity Leader

  12. -County Landscape Officer

  13. -Surrey Botanical Society

  14. -Friends of Box Hill

  15. --Butterfly Conservation

  16. -Keith Taylor MEP

National Planning Policy Framework (published 27th March 2012) continues to give MVDC the ability to protect this residential rural estate from commercial or housing development.

Greg Clark, Planning Minister, House Commons, 27th March 2012.

Our reforms to the planning system take on each of these challenges. They enshrine the local plan, produced by local people, as the keystone of the planning system.


It makes it explicit that the presumption in favour of sustainable development works through, not against, local plans.

It makes it clear that relevant policies, such as those protecting the green belt, sites of special scientific interest, national parks and other areas, cannot be overridden by the presumption.

It recognises the intrinsic value and beauty of the countryside, whether specifically designated or not.

Click on Golf & Landscape for next page..   Golf & Landscape


Daily Telegraph 26th April 2012

Greg Clarke, the planning minister said he asked the Planning Inspectorate to ensure that residents’ views were respected if developers tried to overturn ‘Local Plans’ which are agreed by councils to dictate where development can take place over the next five years. Local Plans are at the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework. Mr. Clark said he had made it crystal clear to the inspectorate that any of its decisions had to be made on a localist approach.

Local councillors ignored the views of Mickleham Parish Council, the Leatherhead’s Residents’ Association, Tyrrells’ Wood Residents’ Association and the residents in Givons Grove and Cherkley who have fought to have the policies contained in our Local Plan upheld. 

Councillors voted against their planning officers’ report and against planning policy in order to support a commercial development and they did not even bother to ask Longshot to prove an overriding need for another golf course in Surrey, or establish the very special circumstances necessary to justify inappropriate development in the Green Belt, including a reduction in the housing provision.

They voted against protecting and enhancing the natural beauty of the countryside that people in the Mole Valley cherish and value.

What is it that our councillors do not understand about the phrase “Natural Beauty”? Golf courses, even those designed by David McLay Kidd, are not

natural environments. Parts of Cherkley have been in the AONB since 1958 and the rest was upgraded to Area of Great Landscape Value (because they share identical characteristics with the AONB - Chris Burnett Associates, Surrey Hills AGLV Review 2007). If Natural England go ahead with their boundary review there is every reason to expect Cherkley will be included, provided it has not been altered  by the imposition of a golf course on the open and natural chalk grassland that characterises this rural environment.