How on earth did this get through planning?

So asks Katie Hannant in today’s edition of the Leatherhead Advertiser (page 18, ‘Your Views’).  That is exactly the question that many of us have asked time and again over the past year.  In my view, and I was there, the meeting of MV Development Control Committee on 4th April last year, at which the Officers’ recommendation was rejected, was farcical and a poor reflection on local democracy.

I have stated before that it is my opinion the application should have gone to appeal.  But,  Development Control Committee having granted Longshot’s application, Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for Surrey and the South East, was quite right to urge the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, to call in the Cherkley Court planning application.  Unfortunately, Sir Paul Beresford, our Westminster MP for Mole Valley, urged Mr Pickles not to do so and, indeed, Mr Pickles did not call it in.  There seems to have been every attempt made locally to make sure this application remained in the hands of MVDC alone.

If you do read Katie Hannant’s letter in the Advertiser, do read Mrs Krikorian’s letter also.  She makes several very valid points and also makes it clear that there are a large number of objectors, contrary to propaganda that objectors are a small minority.

As for so-called delaying tactics, work is going on a-pace,  as both letters in the Advertiser make clear and, indeed, as anyone can see for themselves if they care to take a walk across the Cherkley estate.

The judicial review on the 6th and 7th of June is not an attempt to delay things; it is an attempt to have the planning permission quashed.

Even if the judicial review is successful, sadly the damage already done will take many years to be put right.  If, however, the judicial review fails, then we shall have this unnecessary golf course in a county already replete with golf courses and the green light will be given to councils everywhere that Local Plans can be ignored at will.  They will not be worth the paper they are written on.

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