Councillors failed in their duty to apply their own development plan when they gave permission for developers to build a golf course at a historic estate, the Court of Appeal has heard.

On Wednesday Cherkley Campaign defended a landmark High Court judgement in the court that quashed planning permission to turn Cherkley Court into a golf course, hotel and spa near Leatherhead.

Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) and developer Longshot Cherkley Court have appealed against the High Court judgement made following a judicial review last year.

In August High Court judge Mr Justice Haddon-Cave ruled that a majority of councillors made a "perverse" decision that a golf course would not compromise the landscape.

In his judgement, he said exclusive private demand was contrary to public need and Surrey already has more than enough golf courses - 141 across the county.

Speaking after this week's hearing David Crawford, a director of the Cherkley Campaign, said: "The quashing by the High Court of the illegal and perverse granting by the council majority of planning permission for construction a golf course at such a protected, highly-sensitive and rare location must now be upheld.

"It should be clear to the Law Lords from the evidence submitted and rehearsed once again that the majority of Mole Valley councillors failed conscientiously in their duty to apply properly the policies of the development plan which exist to protect the highly designated landscape and unimproved chalk grassland habitat at the Cherkley Estate, each of national importance, from any inappropriate development."

Andy Smith, Surrey branch director of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said: "MVDC and Longshot's barristers were at pains to say that the Longshot scheme would 'enhance' the environment and bring 'benefits' to Mole Valley.

"I'm at a loss to see how transforming wildflower meadows and ancient woodland into a golf course for the super-rich can be described as beneficial to either the local community or the natural environment!"

The two-day appeal hearing ended on Wednesday and it is not known when Lord Justices Richards, Underhill and Floyd will make their judgement.

Winston Churchill was once a regular guest at Cherkley Court, the former home of press baron Lord Beaverbrook.

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Cherkley Court, the former home of press baron Lord Beaverbrook