Campaigners must wait for two weeks to hear the fate of allotments and adjoining greenbelt land after the decision was made in secret.

Councillors decided whether to enter into an agreement with a developer wanting to build on Barnett Wood Lane Allotments and college land behind closed doors on Tuesday.

The decision came after Mole Valley Council officers and Oxford’s Merton College selected a preferred bidder to develop the 32-acre site next to the Leatherhead Bypass.

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Barnett Wood Lane Allotments

The decision will not be made public for a fortnight, while the council notifies the three final bidders.

A council spokesman said: “This is in compliance with the strict requirements of the procurement process and, as a result, the council can make no public announcement until mid-August when that period of time has elapsed.”

Linda Weller, who organised a petition signed by more than 2,750 people in a bid to save allotments, described the proposed relocation site for allotments as isolated and inaccessible with poor soil, flooding and noise and air pollution.

She said: “Mole Valley Council has a duty to protect the greenbelt for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations, not to waste it for short term financial gains.”

Council leader Councillor Chris Townsend thanked allotment holders sharing their view which would be taken into consideration.

Coun Townsend said: "If the decision is to proceed, the council remains absolutely committed to working with allotment holders and the newly formed allotment society to minimise any negative impact and provide the best possible alternative." 

He said councillors “would have preferred to have had an open, honest and quite far-ranging debate in public but unfortunately we were unable to do that.”

All details of the preferred proposal remain a closely guarded secret due to commercial sensitivity.

As yet there have been no clues as to what could be built there with speculation ranging from a retail village or supermarket to an entertainment complex or housing.