Developers are no longer barred from using herbicide on a historic estate but remain prohibited from stripping away soil there to create an exclusive golf course.

Three weeks ago Cherkley Campaign won an injunction to stop Longshot Cherkley Court Ltd from spraying herbicide, clearing land and other construction work at Cherkley Court near Leatherhead.

But, following discussions between the two sides on Monday, the High Court issued a new order permitting the developers to use tractors to apply herbicide and harrow land earmarked for a golf course.

Harrowing involves dragging a heavy agricultural implement over the soil to break up, or level, the surface.

This injunction will remain in place until next Wednesday, April 24, when the court will rule on the campaign’s application for a judicial review over Mole Valley Council's decision to grant planning permission for the development.

The order said Longshot had promised to re-seed the areas where herbicide is applied if the golf course development does not proceed.

Cherkley Campaign chairman Tim Harrold said:"I think it was a pragmatic decision. This is a satisfactory holding position until we get leave to proceed with our case."

The campaigners won the original injunction on March 26 after a digger was photographed removing top soil on the estate.

Mr Harrold, who is also vice-president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: "This chalk grassland is very highly protected.

"We wanted to ensure nothing was done prematurely before a decision was reached on April 24."

Longshot spokesman Nick Kilby refused to make any statement about the injunction yesterday morning, claiming both parties were bound by a confidentiality agreement.

But later that day, having failed to provide evidence for any legal undertaking to that effect, he said it had been a ‘gentleman’s agreement’.

Mr Kilby said: "Longshot is disappointed that following the request for no public statements, the Cherkley Campaign is quoted in many news media stories as breaking this."

He said 'no concessions' were given to campaigners to delay plans and both sides had agreed what works were acceptable before the order was issued.

He said: "This was achieved with the complete satisfaction of Longshot."

He added: "No earth moving will be done but none was expected to be done in the time of this agreement."

Longshot Cherkley Court Ltd plans to build a golf course, luxury hotel, and spa at the former home of media baron Lord Beaverbrook.